Alan Biggs' Sheffield Wednesday Column: Why Owls have no reason to fret over low-key summer... but may have to keep everything crossed over future of Steve Bruce
Embargo apart, a stagnation in transfer trading right across the Championship suggests Sheffield Wednesday fans have no reason to fret over this low-key summer. Providing Newcastle don’t firm up a reported interest in Steve Bruce, of course!
Figures show that clubs collectively have sold players for £87.5m and bought for just £33.7m, at a profit of nearly £54m. Departures of 191 players have far outstripped arrivals (128).
At the time of writing, cash signings by the 24 clubs numbered just 14.
And even the three clubs down from the Premier League - Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield - are virtually breaking even in the market so far.
Supposed heavyweights Leeds United are in profit by over £16m with no fee-paying arrivals despite the sales of Jack Clarke and Pontus Jansson.
No buys at Derby County, West Brom, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough, either.
So what does this mean for Wednesday? While the soft embargo and late accounts are clearly causes for concern, it signifies that once they clear this hurdle the playing field is more than level enough to compete.
On the downside, it demonstrates the difficulty of Wednesday trading their way out of a problem largely of the club’s own making, dating to a time when the market was far more fluid.
I imagine loans out are the likeliest way of offloading up to the closure of the summer window.
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It’s as if second tier clubs generally have come to the sudden, and welcome, realisation that you can push the boat out too far.
While Profitability and Sustainability regulations have proved porous in providing legal loopholes, which you can’t blame clubs like Wednesday for exploiting, a degree of sanity is prevailing.
It’s interesting, by the way, to see where the biggest money has been spent at Championship level so far; Bristol City and Brentford.
These two unfancied, smaller outfits have made six of the section’s 14 cash signings between them, according to analysis by the excellent transfermarkt.co.uk.
The Robins are slightly but significantly down on trading at £1m. Brentford’s deficit of nearly £13m and rising is extraordinary, albeit underpinned by January income - though it does point to an imminent sale of Sheffield United target Neal Maupay.
As for the Owls, Julian Börner, Moses Odubajo and Kadeem Harris will be tidy business when officially ratified. Throw in various loan initiatives and the trial for Josh McEachran and it will amount to what should be - in the circumstances - a competitive squad.
The big buying days of clubs clambering for promotion to the elite appear to have gone for the time being. Hopefully the financial health of the game will become all the better for it.
As for Bruce, if a big Premier League club were to court your manager, and especially one he supports, you would have to keep everything crossed. Just hope it’s not a choice he has to make.