Sheffield Wednesday: Lee Bullen opens up for the first time on Lucas Joao's switch to Reading and discusses Jordan Rhodes’ future
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Lee Bullen has defended the club's decision to sell striker Lucas Joao to Championship rivals Reading.
The Portugal international left the Owls on Tuesday, joining the Royals for an undisclosed fee. The Star understands Joao has cost Reading an initial £5m and that fee could rise to as much as £7m with add-ons.Wednesday have also inserted a 20 per cent sell-on clause as part of the deal.
Although Joao's move is a club-record sale for the Owls, his departure has polarised opinion on social media. Some Wednesdayites feel they should not have cashed in on Joao.
But Bullen, who brought in Massimo Luongo, Jacob Murphy and David Bates on deadline-day, told The Star: "We were top-heavy with strikers and we couldn't continue the way we have been in the last couple of years and just collected players.
"We knew that we had aspects of the team that needed strengthening more.
"Lucas is a talented, talented boy who could go on and do really well but, ultimately, it was a good financial situation for the football club."
The last of Joao's 28 Wednesday goals came ironically against Reading last weekend as Bullen's men kicked off their 2019/20 campaign with a fine away win.
Bullen said: "I spoke to the lad on Friday morning and he was desperate to play and he justified his inclusion with the performance he put on in the last 25 minutes."
The Owls still have five forwards on their books: Steven Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes, Fernando Forestieri, Atdhe Nuhiu and Sam Winnall. Norwich pulled out of the race to sign Rhodes, having had a cheeky offer to take the 29-year-old on a free transfer rejected at the end of July.
"Obviously we were aware of the media speculation and how well he did at Norwich," said Bullen. "The Norwich manager spoke very, very highly of Jordan yesterday (Thursday) in the media, but that was unable to go through so Jordan is here.
"He [Rhodes] will be a big part of the squad going forward this season and hopefully can play a part in getting two promotions in a row. That would be ideal; we will keep our fingers crossed on that one.
"His record is second to none. He's had an up and down couple of seasons but he is fully ingrained with squad back up here and he will definitely have a big part to play."