Sheffield Wednesday: Several Championship clubs keeping tabs on Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan

Wednesday forward Fernando Forestieri
Wednesday forward Fernando Forestieri
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Owls pair Fernando Forestieri and Barry Bannan are attracting the interest from a host of Championship clubs, The Star understands.

Second-tier new boys Stoke City are big admirers of talented forward Forestieri while Middlesbrough and Birmingham City are believed to be tracking midfield playmaker Bannan.

Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan

Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan

It is no secret Wednesday, who finished 15th last season, are keen to trim their £25m-plus wage bill this summer, with Forestieri and Bannan two of the club’s highest earners.

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Yet it remains unclear whether the Owls’ hierarchy would entertain offers for crowd favourites Forestieri and Bannan.

Both Forestieri and Bannan moved to Hillsborough in August 2015 and played key roles in Wednesday reaching back-to-back play-offs under former boss Carlos Carvalhal.

However, after three years of unprecedented financial backing from owner Dejphon Chansiri, the Owls are wary of breaching Profitability and Sustainability regulations. The rules, which were introduced at the start of the 2016/17 campaign, state clubs cannot exceed losses of £39m, or £13m a season, over a three-year period otherwise they will face penalties from the EFL. Punishments can range from transfer embargoes to hefty fines.

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If Wednesday decided to cash in on one of their prized assets, it would aid their attempts to stay within the Profitability and Sustainability guidelines and potentially give manager Jos Luhukay more room to manoeuvre in the transfer market.

Reports in Portugual claim attacking midfielder João Amaral is on the Owls’ radar. He recently joined Portuguese giants Benfica on the back of a successful season at Vitoria de Setubal where he bagged nine goals and four assists in 40 appearances. But Benfica are reportedly prepared to let Amaral, 26, leave on a season long-loan.

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