Sheffield Wednesday braced for busy end to summer transfer window

Sheffield Wednesday are preparing for a busy end to the summer transfer window.

By Dom Howson
Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 19:01

The Star understands the Owls, who are close to completing the signing of Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo, are in talks to sign Michael Hector and Jacob Murphy from Chelsea and Newcastle United respectively ahead of Thursday's 5pm deadline.

Centre-half Hector starred on loan at Hillsborough last season, appearing 39 times and scoring two goals, and was named the club's player of the year.

Sources close to Wednesday have confirmed the club are keen on bringing Hector back to S6 on a permanent basis but are struggling to match the Blues' £5m asking price. The Jamaican international, who has never made a single appearance for Chelsea since a £4million transfer from Reading in 2015, has one year remaining on his Blues contract.

Former Owls loanee Michael Hector

Fellow Championship clubs Fulham and Bristol City are also believed to be keeping close tabs on Hector.

Speaking last week, Owls caretaker boss Lee Bullen said "there is a chance" Hector could return.

Bullen said: "Michael loved his time here. But we’re also mindful of financial aspects of every sort of deal that we’re looking at.

“He’s well-liked here by supporters. But, obviously, he’s coming from a mega club in Chelsea, who have a valuation on their players.

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“If we can fit that into what we’re doing then I’m sure it’s something that the chairman will look at.

“If it’s something that’s financially not right for the club, then we’ll have to look at other opportunities."

Wednesday are also in the race to sign winger Murphy but they face competition from a host of second-tier teams, including Derby County, Huddersfield Town and Fulham.

Ex-England Under-21 international Murphy has made 41 senior appearances for the Magpies since arriving from Norwich City for £10m in the summer of 2017.

But Murphy struggled to cement a place in the starting lineup under former Newcastle chief Rafa Benitez and spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion. Murphy featured 15 times for the Baggies, scoring two goals, as they qualified for the Championship play-offs.

With Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, who controversially walked out on the Owls last month, having captured French winger Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice for a reported £16.5m fee, Murphy, a boyhood Magpies fan, has further slipped down in the pecking order for a starting berth at St James' Park.

Rolando Aarons, Murphy's Newcastle team-mate, is another player on Wednesday's radar. Aarons made nine appearances while on loan with the Owls last term.

But there is also a possibility of outgoings at Wednesday. Norwich City are considering a late swoop for Jordan Rhodes, with Birmingham City, Swansea City and Bristol City also thought to be interested in the centre-forward. Fringe defenders Ash Baker and Joost van Aken are thought to be available on loan.