Three realistic free transfer centre-backs Sheffield Wednesday could target if Tom Lees leaves
Of all the senior centre-halves Sheffield Wednesday have at the club, only Julian Börner, Dominic Iorfa and Chey Dunkley are locked into contracts that will see them into the 2021/22 season at Hillsborough.
It is understood that highly-rated youngster Osaze Urhoghide has received the fluttering eyelids of the likes of Crystal Palace, Watford and Leeds United, while Tom Lees is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal. Joost van Aken is expected to move on.
Given the club face an uncertain future as to their divisional status and – like most clubs – they aren’t exactly flushed with cash, it may well be that they look to dip into the free transfer market for much of what looks set to be an important rebuild.
Let’s take a look at four realistic centre-half options available to Wednesday who, as it stands, are set to leave their clubs for nothing in the summer.
Matty Pearson – Luton
Yorkshire-born, Matty Pearson is a man mountain at the heart of Luton’s defence and has been an integral part of their journey from League One into Championship midtable.
Signed from a disappointing season at Barnsley, he has been a near ever-present at Kenilworth Road since and is reliable in terms of availability.
Hatters boss Graeme Jones has made clear he has offered contracts to some senior players, though it’s not immediately clear who they are. Club captain Sonny Bradley is another currently out of contract at the end of the season that would be a popular choice among several Championship clubs.
At 27 Pearson is a good age and may well welcome the opportunity for a new challenge closer to home. That said, if he does leave Luton on a free, he won’t be short of options.
Tom McIntyre – Reading
So.. 22-years-old, a Scotland u21 international, who has played an awful lot of football in a Reading side vying for promotion. Realistic? Really?
Curiously, as of last month, Royals youth product Tom McIntyre was still unsure as to what was happening with his contract. He’s another one that would have a swarm of clubs interested in him and would be quite a coup for a club like Wednesday.
If it’s up to him, he’ll be stopping Berkshire, it seems.
“I'm not really too sure what is going on but of course I'd love to stay,” he said recently when asked if talks had started between him and the club.
“Everyone knows how much I love Reading. Hopefully at some stage we'll be able to get something sorted.”
James Chester – Stoke
He’s been linked with Wednesday before, and you can perhaps expect Wednesday to be linked with him again, especially if someone with the experience of Lees leaves the club.
There would be the odd eye-roll, you’d think, given his age and profile, but it may be a temptation to replace like with like.
He has 35 international caps for Wales and it remains to be seen what his contract situation is with Stoke.