Sheffield Wednesday's transfer business akin to Chris Wilder's Sheffield United League One escape - Alan Biggs

Sheffield Wednesday’s recruitment drive reminds me of something that happened in this city five years ago.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 12:07 pm

And while it occurred four miles from Hillsborough, please hear us out. The omens are good.

Good players and good characters don’t always coincide in football.

That’s why Sheffield Wednesday’s transfer dealings this summer have been stunningly impressive.

Darren Moore and Sheffield Wednesday have been impressive in the transfer market this summer Pic Steve Ellis

It’s about leaders on the field, captains whether by name or nature. Owls fans won’t thank me for saying it but I see similarities with Sheffield United’s double promotion winning squad under Chris Wilder, starting with a 2017 escape from the same League One.

Actual skipper Barry Bannan’s plea for the “right people” to join his dressing room, very much supported here, has been more than heeded.

But it was manager Darren Moore’s mission anyway on his culture-changing crusade for the club.

And when you look at the way Moore’s squad is shaping up, he has leaders all over the field - which was a feature of Wilder’s early recruitment for the Blades.

Securing both Rotherham captain Michael Ihiekwe and former Millers skipper Will Vaulks, each a League One promotion winner, underlines the point.

Then, via the same route, there is Michael Smith, a leader from the front in more ways than one. Another player of strong character and, for me, a far better acquisition than the previously linked Ipswich new boy Freddie Ladapo.

Ben Heneghan seems to have something of the same.

Throw in the many solid citizens already at Hillsborough - from the two senior keepers, including newcomer David Stockdale, through to the likes of Palmer, Iorfa, Byers, Johnson, Gregory and Paterson - and Wednesday have an extremely strong backbone in every sense.

You’d be hugely surprised if, for the second season running, supporters don’t warm to a team that, in modern parlance, “leaves everything out there.”

I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that Wednesday will have a winning mentality.

Maybe the one bit still missing, but sought, to convert that into the reality of winning football, is a touch of youthful zest.

The average age is tipping up a bit and needs some balancing.

Certainly Wednesday need to replace a certain type of player. While Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Saido Berahino and Olamide Shodipo were not entirely effective, the Owls could do with more options of that attacking ilk.

Mallick Wilks, at 23 and still being pursued from Hull, could balance this up very nicely.