Carlos Carvalhal is a realistic man.
Throughout a rollercoaster campaign, the Owls chief has done his utmost to manage expectations levels. It has arguably been the toughest part of Carvalhal’s job.
“I have to put everybody’s feet on the floor,” he said.
Barely a day has gone by in January without the Championship club being linked with Middlesbrough striker Jordan Rhodes. One national newspaper recently suggested Wednesday were prepared to offer £8 million plus extras for Rhodes, who is the son of Owls goalkeeping coach Andy.
Rhodes is a player Wednesday’s hierarchy rate highly and a lot of Wednesdayites believe signing him before tonight’s 11pm deadline would go a long way to solving their problems in front of goal.
But Carvalhal is acutely aware of the Owls’ transfer budget and appeared to distance himself from the former Huddersfield Town forward at his press briefing yesterday.
He refused to be drawn on specific transfer targets but he stressed: “We live in the real world.”
Carvalhal claims Wednesday have been linked with up to 40 players over the last two transfer windows. He feels clubs and agents have used Wednesday’s name to promote their players. It is hard to argue with him.
Describing the market as a “circus,” he said: “A lot of the fantasy world makes people create high expectations which are higher than the reality.
“But the problems between the fantasy and real world is there is a gap here that puts the people thinking that Sheffield Wednesday is swimming in a gold pool and that we can achieve all the best players in the competition. It happened in the summer and it is happening in this transfer window.”
Carvalhal has made it clear that the Owls have to be prudent with their transfer business. He and Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri are keen to avoid breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
“We don’t want to break FFP,” insisted Carvalhal. “I agree absolutely with the chairman’s policy on this as we don’t want to disturb the club. What other clubs do is not our responsibility. It is not our way. We try to do things in the correct way.
“We have a policy and I am 300 per cent with the chairman.
“If we want a player from another team and he has a crazy salary, we can’t follow these kind of salaries as we can damage our team.
“It is not money that plays on the pitch. It is the players and we push our players to play face-to-face with all the teams in the competition.”
Wednesday have so far recruited Callum McManaman, Morgan Fox and Sam Winnall this month and Carvalhal indicated the club have “probably closed everything” when quizzed on potential incomings.
But he conceded: “The deadline is 11pm; you never what can happen. At the end of the transfer window, a lot of things can happen to all the clubs in the world.
“The market is not easy. If we achieve someone, we want someone who is better than we have in the club. We want to improve the team.”
The Owls play twice away from home in the next four days, starting at Bristol City tonight.
Carvalhal has watched a video of the Robins’ FA Cup defeat to Burnley last weekend. City are hovering just above the relegation zone after a club-record eight league defeats on the spin.
“I don’t do plans in my life in the medium term,” said Carvalhal. “I do plans just to think about one game at a time. This is the most important thing.
“I’m not thinking about the game on Friday and we will try to do our best at Bristol City to win the three points.”
He is refusing to underestimate the threat the Robins will pose.
Carvalhal said: “There are no easy games in this competition. When you think that it will be an easy game, you will have a big problem.
“We know there are surprises in this competition and it will be difficult.
“I know their coach. He’s a good coach and they have good players.”
The heaviest defeat of Carvalhal’s reign came at Ashton Gate last season. His Owls side were torn apart defensively as the Robins cruised to a 4-1 success.
Carvalhal admitted it was an off day.
He said: “We lost the game there last season and they deserved to win but this is a new season. It is history. We must do our job and play compact and solid.”
David Jones is set to deputise for the suspended Sam Hutchinson in midfield.