Phonecalls, meetings and sliced bread - Behind the transfer window curtain at Sheffield Wednesday

What goes into signing a footballer? Sheffield Wednesday’s Darren Moore offered some insight into how a deal gets done, and some of the pitfalls.

Sunday, 30th January 2022, 5:00 pm

“You’re never really happy until an individual has signed,” Moore explained to The Star. “Because players can be in transit, on their way to come sign, and then deviate off on the motorway and go elsewhere.”

It’s happened before, and it’ll happen countless times again… There will be reports of an imminent deal, of club terms being agreed, or of a player being in transit to his new home. Only for him to sign somewhere else.

Wednesday have been burned by it in the past, and have also benefitted, but what happens before all that? The Wednesday boss has said before that he enjoys the possibility of bringing in new players but isn’t much of a fan of the logistical side of it – and the energy used in trying to get deals done.

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“First of all you have to scour the different teams, he says. “You look at different players, where the clubs are at, how their squads look - then you have to draw up a shortlist.

“After that you go through the front door and ask the question - would that player be interested, or would we have the opportunity to bring this player in on loan?

“The club may say, they may say no. If they say no then you move on to another target, if they say yes then you have to speak to the player’s representatives and put your name in.

Inside the transfer window with Sheffield Wednesday's Darren Moore.

“But when you put your name in you’ve got to be prepared for the fact that there’s another six clubs in the hat.

“You request an opportunity to speak to the player, but that can be denied even if the club has given you permission. The representatives might deny that opportunity because there are other clubs in or he’s actively speaking to other clubs.

“If he speaks to you, rest assured you’re in with five or six other clubs that are all trying to persuade him that they’re the best thing since sliced bread in terms of convincing the player to move and explaining the roles and responsibilities he’ll have if he does come.”

But even if those conversations go well, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get your player – there are plenty of other sharks in the water.

Moore continued, “The player has to make up his mind on where he thinks he’d be best suited to for his career, and then there’s all the paperwork that you’ve got to deal with.

“While that’s going on, at any given time you could lose the individual. And it remains that way until the last minute. That’s just the way it is.

“I’ll be honest, that’s happened with players here… They’ve been in transition to other teams and we’ve put our best foot forward and they’ve decided to come here. Sometimes it works, and that’s football.

“It takes time and energy and effort. And while you want to be on the training ground, you have to do it because once the window is closed then you have to deal with what you’ve got.”

And that’s where Wednesday find themselves now. They’ve had three new faces come on board this month in Harlee Dean, Jordan Storey and Tyreece John-Jules, and for all of them they’ve had to bat off competition from elsewhere in order to get them in at Middlewood Road.

“The competition is fierce, you have clubs at home and abroad all vying for players,” Moore concluded. “So the phone is going 24/7, there are meetings around the clock, and you’re consistently working to bring them in.

“It can be done over hours, or days, or weeks - it’s not simply phoning somebody and they’re in the door tomorrow. It doesn’t work like that.”

With Dean’s arrival from Birmingham City, it was days.

“I think the interest came early this week…” he told the club’s YouTube channel after penning his loan deal at Hillsborough. “And we’re only on Wednesday now - so that’s how quick it got done.

“There were other options, I had Championship options, but nothing that whet my appetite.”

And speaking to The Star before the game against Ipswich Town, he gave a little bit more detail, saying, “It started when I spoke to the manager about coming here… Once that’s done I told my agent that I wanted to do it, the club then work out a deal in terms of the wages paid - the player has to agree with that as well - and then you’re up for a medical.

“I was up for a medical on Wednesday, then back down to get all my gear and I was ready to go on Thursday.”

It’s not long now until the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, at which point only free agents will be available, and while Moore has suggested that Wednesday are pretty much done in terms of incomings, you just never know.

One move, at a club completely unrelated to the Owls, could cause a domino effect that leads to the Wednesday boss getting a call late in the day saying, ‘Player X just became available, are you keen?’

He may be, he may not, but until that window closes at 11pm there’s always the chance of just one more. You never know.