Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: Why business is slow in the Championship transfer window

The Championship transfer window has yet to truly spark into life.

By Dom Howson
Thursday, 27th June 2019, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 3:19 pm

Stoke City have been by far and away the busiest club in the second-tier, bringing in six new faces so far.

But even the Potters, who are armed with their Premier League parachute payments, have not spent big. Their most expensive acquisition has been Liam Lindsay, with the club paying in the region of £2million to recruit the defender from Barnsley.

The Potters approach already looks a lot different to last summer when they forked out over £16m on the likes of Nigeria midfielder Peter Etebo and forward Tom Ince.

Stoke City player Tom Ince

To be fair to Stoke, they were not the only club that splashed the cash in 2018. Nottingham Forest smashed their transfer record to land Benfica playmaker Joao Carvalho in a £13m deal and also paid £6m to capture Lewis Grabban.

Other clubs, including the Owls, have spent lavish amounts of money on their recruitment drive in recent years. Remember Middlesbrough shelling out £15m on Britt Assombalonga? Remember the 2018 title winners Wolverhampton Wanderers paying almost £16m to bring midfield ace Ruben Neves to Molineux?

While Norwich City and Sheffield United secured promotion to the Premier League on modest budgets last term, many teams have invested heavily on transfer fees and salaries in their pursuit of top-flight football.Yet the recruitment market is currently slow.

Why is the window so quiet? For a start, lots of managers, players and agents have been away on holiday. It has been trickier to get deals done over the line. Although most managers would like to complete their transfer business early, the reality is that rarely happens.

Many clubs will be prepared to play the waiting game as well. The market is open until August 8 so time is on their side.

But you get the impression that we are unlikely to see any big financial outlays this summer. A plethora of teams are under pressure to cut their costs after failed promotion bids.

It was only a couple of months ago that the English Football League flexed its muscles by docking Birmingham City nine points for breaching Profitability and Sustainability regulations. Their punishment sent shockwaves around the division and issued a timely reminder to clubs to get their houses in order.

Championship clubs incredibly made combined operating losses of over £510m in the 2017/18 season - that is simply unsustainable and can't continue.

So don't be surprised if there are very few big-money transfers over the coming months.