Why I'm glad Freddie Ladapo went to Ipswich Town and not Sheffield Wednesday - Alan Biggs

No-one expects footballers to be angels or choir boys; nor should we. It’s a life on the edge with the narrowest ridge separating heroes from villains.

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 11:45 am

But, when the gap between success and failure is equally narrow, you can’t put a price on togetherness.

It’s way beyond the value of a single player. For me, the biggest reason why Sheffield Wednesday finally got their act together as a team and squad last season.

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Freddie Ladapo signed for Ipswich Town from Rotherham United amid reported interest from Sheffield Wednesday

So I was pleased when Freddie Ladapo signed for Ipswich and not Wednesday, with whom he had been linked following a late window approach to Rotherham in January.

Michael Smith? Now you’re talking. For reasons beyond his 25 goals in the Millers’ League One promotion. If the Owls could get him, that is.

As for Ladapo, nothing against the player or person - I don’t know him - and 80 career goals, including 15 in Rotherham’s promotion, says he’s a decent striker.

But I do know Paul Warne and members of the Rotherham staff. How you can fall out with one of the game’s most tolerant man-managers, who runs his squad with mutual respect and dare I say love, is a little beyond me.

That, more than the sort of common or garden fall-out rife within the game, had the alarm bells clanging. It was an extreme measure by Warne’s standards to isolate a good player in the run-in and his gamble paid off.

If, as some suggested, it would have been good business to have traded Josh Windass to his Argentinian pursuers for £1m and sign Ladapo for nothing in his place then I can’t agree.

Windass - and yes, he needs to stay fit for longer - offers infinitely more and I hope he stays in the face of continuing interest from Atletico Telleres. He’s adaptable, a driving presence whether up front or deeper, and a goal scorer (68 in his career, a little behind Ladapo but a year younger).

Yes, he had his fall-outs too when at Wigan. Yes, Saido Berahino was no trouble at Hillsborough last season even if he largely failed to deliver.

And yes, all managers, not least another likeable guy in Darren Moore, fancy themselves as redeemers, the one to unlock the magic of the mavericks.

But the big thing here is that Moore personally knew Berahino, whereas Ladapo would have been a far riskier shot in the dark.

Berahino was prepared to adapt to Wednesday’s demands, to accept being benched, whereas some of the feedback from Rotherham suggested Ladapo not only expected to start but resented being substituted.

Again, it’s up to him at 29 to reform and nobody is actually saying he can’t.

Also, it’s right that Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri is much more open to considering bids. There will be a figure that would tip the balance on Windass.

But in this instance I think Wednesday have dodged a bullet that had far more than £1m riding on it.