Sheffield Wednesday: Owls close in on Portuguese centre-back

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Sheffield Wednesday are on the brink of completing the signing of Vitoria de Seutbal centre-back Frederico Venancio.

Primeira Liga side Vitoria claim the 24-year-old will initially join the Owls on loan until the end of the season with the option to make the deal permanent next summer. It is understood Wednesday, who are light on numbers defensively, hope to finalise the transfer today.

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Speaking on Vitoria's website last night, Venancio said: "I thank the leaders of Vitoria FC for having understood how important it was for me to embrace this new challenge.

"Vitoria is in my heart, it's part of me. So I did not hesitate to renew my contract for another three years.

"I'm going to England, but I'm going to have the club and my teammates always in my thoughts."

Venancio, a graduate of Vitoria's youth system, has previously been linked with moves to Leeds United, Derby County and Reading.

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One national newspaper suggested Venancio, Vitoria's captain, rejected a move to Greek champions Olympiakos in January as his preferred option was to play in England.

Venancio, a former Portugal Under-21 international, penned a three-year contract extension at Vitoria last summer. He has played 134 matches for the Portuguese club, scoring seven goals.

Venancio lined up against the Owls in a pre-season friendly last month, helping Vitoria secure a goalless draw.

A new centre-back has been at the top of Wednesday's priority list for some time. It is no secret the Owls tried and failed to sign Sean Morrison and Johan Djourou before the start of the season.

And now Carlos Carvalhal's men are down to the bare bones defensively, with Glenn Loovens (back) a major doubt for their clash with Sunderland tonight. Sam Hutchinson (knee) is definitely ruled out.

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