Sheffield Wednesday: Gray pleased by speed of deal for in-demand Baker

Owls boss Stuart Gray
Owls boss Stuart Gray
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Owls boss Stuart Gray has revealed the Championship club completed the deal for Lewis Baker much sooner than he anticipated.

Teenage midfielder Baker, an England Under-20 international, joined Wednesday on a youth loan from Chelsea earlier this week. As long as the Premier League title contenders avoid a major injury crisis, it is likely Baker will remain at Hillsborough for the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign.

Baker, regarded as one of the country’s brightest talents, was wanted by Nottingham Forest, who welcome the Owls to the City Ground today, and is rumoured to have been on Bolton Wanderers’ radar.

Gray said he has been monitoring Baker’s situation for six months, claiming the Owls also beat off competition from top flight clubs to land the talented youngster. He met Baker in person on Wednesday night to conclude the deal.

“We thought Lewis might be another seven days away,” he told The Star. “We were confident we were going to get him in but suddenly we got the green light. It happened so quickly.”

Baker’s arrival is a real coup for Wednesday, who could include Sam Hutchinson in their match-day squad to take on 11th-placed Forest. The midfielder has taken part in full training, having recovered from a knee injury.

Gray expects the majority of his transfer dealings to take place at the end of the month. One of the departments he is looking to strengthen is their forward line. They have been linked with Blackburn Rovers striker Luke Varney. The 32-year-old, who played 43 times, hitting nine goals in two separate loan spells with the Owls between 2009 and 2010, is on the periphery at Ewood Park. His contract expires at the end of the season.

Gray said: “I know Luke because I worked with him at Portsmouth. He came here and had a reasonable spell. We are going to be linked with players. I’m not saying Luke’s not in my thoughts but he’s a Blackburn player. I don’t want to comment on speculation.”

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