Sheffield Wednesday's contract issues are important but one thing is even more so

Contracts. Sheffield Wednesday have been accused of not being proactive enough in the past.

By Alan Biggs
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 6:23 am

But, in all honesty, how can you dole out new deals when you don’t know what division you will be in next season?

And how can players commit without that knowledge?

I know Barry Bannan did amid a Championship relegation battle last season and we’ll come to that.

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Talisman Barry Bannan signed a new Sheffield Wednedday contract last season despite the club dropping into League One

But right now the bid to escape League One overrides everything - including the case of the seven seniors whose contracts are running down - and rightly so.

Full marks for the commitment of those who’d love to stay. I’m sure that wish will be shared by supporters in respect of Massimo Luongo, Jack Hunt, Sam Hutchinson and others.

Equally so in terms of some of the seven loanees whose futures are also blowing in the wind.

However, any clamour to get individuals tied down comes from an unrealistic place.

We simply don’t know the consequences of the Owls having to spend another season in League One and how serious they could be.

Could, for instance, players renew with full confidence for a club that has had spells of struggling to pay wages in the recent past?

On the other hand, owner Dejphon Chansiri has always managed to meet those commitments and his provision of quality and experience for this current squad has been commendable, not to say expensive.

Chansiri can’t really plan ahead from such a precarious base, much as he bears the responsibility for it.

You suspect that much is riding on the outcome of this crucial campaign, possibly including the whole shape and ownership of the club.

So the best way for players to get that new deal is to win promotion - which then leaves them negotiating from a position of more strength.

But it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all this to be explained to them, if it hasn’t already.

Bannan continues to play an enormous lead role after he and the club made a huge commitment to each other at a similarly uncertain time a year ago.

It was a questionable gamble in financial terms but, aside from preventing a much coveted player leaving for nothing, it has been justified on Bannan’s performance and leadership.

It’s clear also that team-mates don’t resent any disparity in wages, which has been crucial for togetherness.

If an exception was to be made this time then keeping Luongo would be the priority for me. But it doesn’t override promotion and I still believe the Owls will finish in the top six.