Is Sheffield Wednesday super sub Lucas Joao edging closer to the exit door?
A stunning last-minute finish at Reading on Saturday may not be enough to keep Sheffield Wednesday forward Lucas Joao from the Hillsborough exit door, as question marks over his future persist ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
The 25-year-old, who’s injury time goal at the Madejski was the 16th he has scored for Wednesday off the bench, has been linked with Reading themselves and Bristol City in recent weeks. In total, he has scored 26 times since joining the club in 2015.
Previous manager Steve Bruce made no secret of the club’s need to reduce the number of forwards on their books, describing the squad as ‘lopsided’. Gary Hooper and George Boyd were both released at the end of their contract and Jordan Rhodes was the subject of a derisory bid from Norwich City last week that Wednesday rejected out of hand.
And with that transfer deadline of 5pm Thursday drawing ever closer, reports last week suggested the Owls were open to the possibility of allowing Joao to leave on loan, having previously slapped an £8m price tag on him.
Reading manager Jose Gomes was seen talking to Joao after the final whistle of Saturday’s match and admitted he would be trying to add a striker to his squad in the coming days.
He said: “I talked with him before the game last season [as well as today]. We speak Portuguese and he played in Portugal before.
“He's a good player but he's a Sheffield Wednesday player.”
Speaking more generally about the need to bring more attacking talent to the Madejski, Gomes said: “If we have more players who usually score more goals then the chances of scoring more goals increases, that's what we will try to do before the end of the transfer window.”
“We have FFP which we must respect and I think during the next three days something will happen.”
Joao’s control and finish in the final moments of Saturday’s clash had the travelling support singing his name. Last week Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen denied rumours that Joao had handed in a transfer request and that the club were ‘not necessarily’ looking to sell any of their six forwards.
Bullen said after Saturday’s game: “Lucas is the sort of player who can get you out of your seat one minute and then sit you straight back down the next second.
“But that is what you find, nine times out of ten, with really talented footballers. I was screaming at him to get back in shape and then get up when dumped on the floor.
“Then, though, his touch and finish were fantastic.”