Sheffield Wednesday: Is the transfer embargo lifted? What Owls fans can expect from this transfer window

Sheffield Wednesday’s season is over and with the dust settling on the disappointment of their promotion near-miss, attention is turning to what happens next – and the opening of the summer transfer window.

Saturday, 14th May 2022, 12:00 pm

The Star has received a number of questions about the transfer window, not least whether Wednesday are finally allowed to spend, how much they’ll likely be able to spend and what areas of the squad they’ll be looking to strengthen.

A whole lot can change quickly in a transfer window and we’ll have a better idea of the lay of the land once the club’s ‘released and retained’ list is made public, but here is a whistle-stop run-through of what we can expect to happen this summer.

Is the transfer embargo lifted?

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Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri.

Technically speaking, they were never under an explicit transfer embargo per se, though they were in all but name.

Wednesday were limited to the signings of free agents, loan signings and transfers from clubs willing to tear up player registrations for nothing – negotiations they managed to pull off in the cases of Lee Gregory, George Byers and Saido Berahino.

This is understood to have been part of a punishment for repeated failure to pay players at points last season.

The ‘embargo-lite’ – and the threat of a points deduction should those payment issues rear their head again – were always due to be lifted in time for the forthcoming summer transfer window.

Wednesday, therefore, are open for business.

So can we expect Darren Moore to be handed a monster transfer kitty?

Not quite. In fact, not at all. The days of monster transfer war chests at Wednesday are over, it seems.

Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri spoke last year about the need to push the club in a more ‘self-sustainable’ direction and a cursory look at their recently-released accounts show there isn’t much wiggle room for multi-million pound outlays.

It’s important to remember those accounts are from the 2020/21 season, but with the promotion mission failed this season, the belt will have to get tighter still as they prepare for another season of League One income.

It’s nothing new at Wednesday and it’s a long time since the megabucks transfers of Jordan Rhodes, Adam Reach et al. In fact, the last players bought for cold, hard cash were Josh Windass and Callum Paterson back in September 2020.

What has Dejphon Chansiri said?

Speaking to local media including The Star earlier this year to confirm the restrictions would be lifted this summer and reiterated his stance that he will not stand in the way of a manager’s transfer wishes – but sensibly.

He said: “We will be able to buy players again in the next window and I always say to my coaches that I will support them as much as I can, within reason.

“The coach will have the final say, it does not matter what I think, I may agree or disagree but it is down to the coach, who I have always supported when it is possible.”

What he made crystal clear is that the club will not go throwing money about simply because they are able to.

He hinted at a more financially responsible transfer policy that will suit the squad Darren Moore is hoping to build.

“For us, it’s not about spending money or not spending money, it’s about who we think is a player that fits us,” he said.

“Paying a transfer fee doesn’t guarantee that a player will be better than a free transfer or loan - that depends on the player.

“Also, sometimes it’s more expensive to loan one player than it is to buy another. Sometimes with a loan player or free transfer you can spend more.

“For example, if we buy a player but the wages are lower, it works out cheaper than getting a free transfer or loan player on high wages… We try to sign whoever is good for us.”

When will we know about outgoings?

When it comes to players coming to the end of their contracts – these include high-profile first team names such as Sam Hutchinson, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Jack Hunt and Massimo Luongo – EFL rules make clear Wednesday must let them know their intentions before May 21.

Once that is done, the club will likely publish a ‘released and retained list’ in due course – though they don’t necessarily have to – advising who will be released, who has had contract extensions triggered and who they have offered new contracts to.

The EFL will publish a league-wide list on June 11.

Some 12 days passed between the last day of the season and the publishing of Wednesday’s list last season, though there is a suspicion that may come quicker this season.

What areas will they look to strengthen?

It’s going to be another busy one.

Starting from the back, it’s looking unlikely Bailey Peacock-Farrell will return to the club and Joe Wildsmith is likely to end his long stint at S6. Even with Cameron Dawson set to return, it looks likely Wednesday will dip into the market for at least one goalkeeper.

Dominic Iorfa is the only senior centre-half confirmed to be contracted into next season – though Ciaran Brennan will be about too and Liam Palmer can play in a back three – meaning a lot of focus will be placed on bodies at the back.

The midfield looks reasonably well-set, but reinforcements will be sought after out wide, particularly if Jack Hunt takes his leave.

And up top? Don’t be surprised to see a striker or two through the door, particularly if Saido Berahino moves on.