Sheffield Wednesday column: How long it could take the Owls to reduce the average age of their squad

Two weeks ago, I conducted a little poll on Twitter where I asked Owls supporters to rate the club's summer transfer business out of 10.

Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 07:00 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd August 2019, 12:07 pm

Over 5,300 Wednesdayites voted in the space of 24 hours and fans had three options to choose from: 0-3, 4-7 or 8-10.

Eighty per cent graded Wednesday's transfer dealings between 8-10. A pretty emphatic result.

Was it the perfect window? Not quite.

Owls loanee Jacob Murphy

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Many fans would have loved the club to have re-signed Michael Hector and to have perhaps added a left-back to their ranks (Left-back is one of the few weak looking areas).

Nonetheless, the squad is definitely leaner than in previous years. Six players were released following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season and four loan players, including fans' favourite Hector, returned to their parent clubs.

Despite operating under a soft transfer embargo for a big proportion of the summer window, the Owls still managed to bring in seven new faces. Some credit should go to former manager Steve Bruce, who captured Moses Odubajo and Kadeem Harris to help fix their pace shortage in the wide areas. Wednesday also have Bruce to thank for capturing no-nonsense defender Julian Börner. The German already looks a real find.

Bruce said the Owls had to "box clever" in the transfer market, having fallen foul of the English Football League's Profitability and Sustainability rules, and the club seem to have changed their approach. Other than Massimo Luongo, who cost around £1m, Wednesday signed free agents and loans.

But perhaps more importantly there have been more outgoings this month and the Owls have further trimmed their squad and wage bill by selling Lucas Joao to Reading and loaning out Joost van Aken to VfL Osnabruck.

So Wednesday have five fewer players in terms of numbers compared to last May after a busy period of trading. A big turnover was required to shake things up and thankfully that has happened.

The club's recruitment team, featuring controversial figure Amadeu Paixao, has come under fire in recent years and a fair amount of the criticism has been warranted. The club have not bought well post Wembley.

But Paixao, David Downes, Dean Hughes and company have come up trumps this time around (Downes and Hughes were other astute additions made by Bruce). It will certainly go down as one of the Owls' best windows under owner Dejphon Chansiri.

However, there is still plenty of work to do if they are to correct their past mistakes.

The average age of Wednesday's starting line-up has been around the 28 mark so far this season. It is a high figure and that needs to come down in the long-term.

There will, of course, be an opportunity for the Owls to clear the decks next summer as they have several players in their late 20s and early 30s in the final years of their contracts, including Steven Fletcher, Fernando Forestieri, Sam Hutchinson, Kieran Lee and Atdhe Nuhiu.

The harsh reality is it could take Wednesday two to three transfer windows to get the right balance in their squad between youth and experience.