Sheffield Wednesday transfer chief set to leave after being poached by League One-bound club

One of the most senior figures in Sheffield Wednesday’s football set-up looks set to leave for a League One-bound Championship club.
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Owls head of recruitment David Downes has been a central figure at Middlewood Road since he was brought to the club from a more junior role at Aston Villa by Steve Bruce in 2019.

Football Insider reported on Wednesday morning that Downes will join Blackpool as the club’s new sporting director – and that he will be tasked with aiding their recovery from relegation to the third tier after it was confirmed by a 3-2 defeat to Millwall over the weekend. The Star understands there is truth behind those links.

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Should his departure from S6 come to pass as is expected at this stage, Downes will leave a contribution to the club that coincided with a marked turnover of playing staff, first under Garry Monk and then Darren Moore.

Sheffield Wednesday head of recruitment David Downes could be set for the exit door.Sheffield Wednesday head of recruitment David Downes could be set for the exit door.
Sheffield Wednesday head of recruitment David Downes could be set for the exit door.

The Leeds-based recruitment figure has had his work cut out at S6, operating under the restrictions of transfer embargoes and a majorly reduced budget since his arrival to South Yorkshire in March 2019. Some of the success stories during his time at the club include the cut-price signing of Josh Windass and the unlikely double swoop of Michael Smith and Michael Ihiekwe from neighbours Rotherham United.

With financial clout stripped back, Wednesday have had to lean on the loan market, with the likes of Jacob Murphy, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jordan Storey and Mark McGuinness having made an impact during his reign.

Though effectively stepping in to a League One club while Wednesday look to earn promotion to the Championship, the new role would represent a step-up in levels of responsibility for Downes and should his switch to the Tangerines be completed, he’ll step into the shoes of Blackpool’s previous sporting director Chris Badlan. The former Coventry City figure lasted just four months at Bloomfield Road before he was sacked in April.

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Blackpool are in the midst of a structural re-shuffle after chief executive Ben Mansford announced he would also leave the club in the coming weeks.

It remains to be seen whether how Wednesday would look to replace Downes ahead of what could be another busy summer at S6.