What Sheffield Wednesday need after another raft of exits - 18 players remain
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Wednesday confirmed on Saturday morning that Saido Berahino, Chey Dunkley and Sam Hutchinson would be leaving, while the seven loanees - Harlee Dean, Lewis Gibson, Tyreece John-Jules, Florian Kamberi, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Olamide Shodipo and Jordan Storey - are all heading back to their parent clubs.
It leaves the Owls short in plenty of positions as Darren Moore plans for the 2022/23 campaign, though some need addressing more urgently than others.
In total, Wednesday have 18 players contracted for next season that have been in at least one matchday squad over the last two seasons – they’re as follows:
Cameron Dawson, Luke Jackson
Dominic Iorfa, Marvin Johnson, Liam Palmer, Jaden Brown, Ciaran Brennan, Ryan Galvin, David Agbontahoma.
Barry Bannan, George Byers, Dennis Adeniran, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, Alex Hunt.
Lee Gregory, Josh Windass, Callum Paterson, Sylla Sow.
Meanwhile, Massimo Luongo, Jack Hunt, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Joe Wildsmith have all been offered new deals at the club – though until they’ve put pen to paper there will have to be plans to replace them in the squad.
If Dawson is to be number one, and Wildsmith ends up leaving, then a backup will be required – if Dawson isn’t, then the hunt for Peacock-Farrell’s replacement needs to begin.
As things stand the Owls have just one senior centre back – Iorfa – on their books, and it’s imperative that they bolster that position with at least a couple of new players, especially if the intention is to play with three at the back again.
In midfield, a tough-tackling number six is required. If Luongo stays then the Owls are largely covered in that department, but if he doesn’t then they’ll need to go and find one from somewhere. Many will be hoping it doesn’t come to that.
Wide players are also required, though the sort of wide player will again depend on what formation Moore wants to use. He needs two accomplished wingbacks if it’s a 3-5-2, and a couple of wingers if it’s 4-2-3-1.
And up front, Wednesday could do with a bit of height, to be honest. Gregory ha a great debut season, and the other forwards bring something different, but none of them has the raw power and physicality that the Owls seemed to lack last season. They could do with plugging that gap.
But that’s just the necessities really, and the Owls boss will want to replenish the squad after losing 10 players by the time July rolls around – and he’ll be desperate to get his work done early to give them as much time together at preseason as possible
In terms of numbers it’s unlikely that there will be another summer of change like the last one – but there will still be plenty of new faces at Hillsborough come the start of the season in July, and it’s going to be fascinating to see what Moore manages to bring through the door now that there are no transfer restrictions lingering over the club anymore.