Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: How Steve Bruce is likely to reshape his Owls squad

A summer of change beckons for Sheffield Wednesday.

Thursday, 14th February 2019, 16:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th February 2019, 16:42 pm

Their bloated playing squad requires major surgery if manager Steve Bruce is to turn them from a mid-table outfit into promotion contenders.

There are a raft of players out of contract and I would be very surprised if too many are retained as the Owls look to trim their whopping wage bill.

Defender Dominic Iorfa is waiting to make his Owls debut

The days of Wednesday forking out considerable transfer fees to bring in reinforcements are over for the time being. The club are working under tough financial restraints and looking to avoid falling foul again of the Profitability and Sustainability regulations. Bruce may have to wheel and deal.

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It promises to be a big rebuild and Bruce has repeatedly called for time and patience. It will not happen overnight.

“The difficulties are transfer windows," he said. "We have got the summer and then January and all of a sudden, I have been here a year... 

“It would take me six windows to turn it around. Two-and-half years. 

“It is not long when you think of it. 

“Nothing really happened in the last window as people do not want to let their good players go."

Operating under a tight budget is not something that will frighten Bruce. After all, the Geordie has a wealth of experience in management and has worked at other clubs with limited resources.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Bruce will be creative in terms of player recruitment and look to get good value for money everywhere he can. Take Dominic Iorfa as an example. He is still waiting to make his Wednesday debut but the defender is 23, can play a number of positions and is someone the Owls can develop and improve through good coaching. At £250,000, Iorfa could be an absolute snip.

The beauty of Bruce is his contacts in the game are second to none. He wasted no time on his first day in the job by capturing Iorfa and Newcastle United pair Achraf Lazaar and Rolando Aarons. 

Over the years, Bruce has placed a big emphasis on utilising the loan market. He made two inspired signings last year at Aston Villa in Sam Johnstone and Lewis Grabban. 

When Bruce's Hull City team secured promotion to the Premier League in 2016 at Wednesday's expense, he borrowed the likes of Nick Powell from Manchester United and youngsters Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden from Arsenal.

He said: “Now in the summer, you can register your interest with the big clubs and use your connections and can you get two or three young ones from Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal? 

"That is what we did at Aston Villa and Hull, The loan ones can be just as important as those who you bring through your doors."

As Bruce aims to assemble a strong squad capable of challenging in the upper reaches of the division, it will be interesting to see what talent he brings in from the top-flight to bolster their ranks.