Sheffield Wednesday: Why it was crucial the Owls signed Queens Park Rangers midfielder Massimo Luongo

Only time will tell if Wednesday are a team capable of challenging in the upper echelons of the Championship this season.

By Dom Howson
Wednesday, 07 August, 2019, 12:47

But the Owls showed bags of character, grit and determination to grind out a positive result against Reading on the opening-day.

Wednesday dug deep after going down to 10 men at the Madejski Stadium on the opening-day to pick up a morale-boosting three points following a turbulent summer off-the-field.

The balance of the side looked good, especially in midfield. Sam Hutchinson, Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee worked well together. Hutchinson celebrated his 30th birthday in style with a goal and an assist, Bannan pulled the strings from deep and Lee pushed forward at every available opportunity to support Steven Fletcher in attack.

Owls new boy Massimo Luongo (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

"It was like the old days," beamed Hutchinson.

Given Wednesday under caretaker manager Lee Bullen's guidance are playing three in midfield, it was pivotal the Owls brought a new face in that department before Thursday's deadline.

Both Hutchinson and Lee are proven performers at this level and bring plenty of energy and dynamism to the side but the pair are in their 30s and have had their injury problems in recent years. It is unrealistic to think both Hutchinson and Lee will play every week.

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So bringing in Massimo Luongo from Queens Park Rangers looks a sensible piece of business for a number of reasons. His arrival increases competition for places and will keep the likes of Hutchinson and Lee on their toes.

Yes, Luongo initially may have to bide his time and wait for a chance to shine but the Australian international’s combative style of play should suit Wednesday.

"I believe he’s a lot more effective in a deeper role," said Phil Spencer, sometime QPR writer for football.london. "His physical strength and ability to compete and break out of midfield is what makes him stand out, and while he can do a job going into the final third I don’t think he’s technically good enough to be a constant threat in an advanced role."

Another great thing about Luongo is that he rarely gets injured. He made almost 150 appearances in his four-year stint at Loftus Road.

The deal for Luongo is very good too from a financial perspective. I understand the Owls have paid around £1m to bring Luongo to Hillsborough. Luongo's contract was due to run out at QPR next summer so Wednesday have signed him for a cut-price fee.

Now the Owls will be hoping that Luongo boosts their top-six aspirations.