Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday made their 14th and final signing of the summer window on transfer deadline day last Tuesday, recruiting former West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City striker Saido Berahino from Belgian side Zulte Waregem.
Compared to where the Owls were at the start of the summer with a transfer embargo previously hanging over their head and unpaid wages engulfing the club in turmoil, this is a remarkable achievement and this summer business has been backed up by results on the pitch.
You may have forgiven Moore’s side for having a slow start to the season like Ipswich Town have with the need for their players to jell together in a new division – but they have gone unbeaten in four of their five league games so far this season and will be even more dangerous when everything starts to click on the pitch.
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One big boost for the recently-relegated side is that they have managed to retain Barry Bannan, who was the subject of interest from the Premier League and Championship, but has reiterated his commitment to the Owls and will be hoping to lead them back to the Championship.
He will now be aiming to settle his new teammates into life at Hillsborough with manager Moore stating he wants to get to work with his current squad now the transfer window is shut.
They are no longer under an embargo though, which will give them the freedom to sign free agents at any points during the 2021/22 campaign if they so wish. We take a look at just six they could target over the next few months.
Mendez-Laing is someone who has been recently linked with a move to the League One side, so this is a deal that could potentially happen if both sides can come to an agreement.
After having his contract terminated by Cardiff City in September 2020, he signed on with former boss Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough in January, failing to make a real impact in his short-term stay there before being released this summer.
Aside from the Bluebirds, where he played in the Premier League after winning promotion with Mick McCarthy’s side, the most successful period of his career came at then-League One side Rochdale and this is the division where the winger could reignite his career.
Aged 29, there is still plenty of time for him to do so and could be tempted to join a side that is likely to be fighting at the right end of the table throughout the 2021/22 campaign. Keep an eye on this one.
This may seem like a strange move to re-sign a shot-stopper they released in the summer, but with Cameron Dawson going out on loan to League Two club Exeter City, an injury or two in the goalkeeping department could persuade Moore to go back in for the former Republic of Ireland international on a short-term deal.
He could also come in with a view to becoming a goalkeeping coach at Hillsborough at some point in the near future, depending on the career path Westwood wants to take.
The 36-year-old would be a great help to not just Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Joe Wildsmith in the first team, but also to Dawson when he returns from his loan spell and the Owls’ academy graduates who will be desperate to make the grade in South Yorkshire.
Unfortunately for the Irishman, he is yet to sign for a new club and because of this, he may be willing to accept reduced terms to return on a short-term deal if the opportunity arises. It would be a low-risk addition for a side that have already made 14 additions during the 2021/22 campaign, with the constant need to keep an eye on their wage bill.
28-year-old Wisdom spent pre-season with Derby County in the hope of receiving a new contract.
But due to EFL embargo rules with the Rams only allowed to have a limited number of players in their first-team squad and manager Wayne Rooney opting to hand deals to Curtis Davies, Richard Stearman and Phil Jagielka instead, the defender still finds himself without a club.
After spending the last four years at Pride Park, he may have been reluctant to drop down a tier to ply his trade. However, with Sheffield Wednesday’s fast start and their impressive recruitment in the summer, he may be tempted to sign a one or two-year deal to see whether he can guide the Owls back to the Championship.
He would be a smart addition for Wednesday in terms of squad depth, with the 28-year-old being able to play anywhere across the backline, something that could come in handy if injuries start to mount up at Hillsborough.
Many Sheffield Wednesday fans may not have heard of Onen, but the 20-year-old was released by Championship side Reading in the summer and spent part of his youth career at Premier League side Arsenal.
According to the Sheffield Star, the South Yorkshire outfit were said to be weighing up a move for the free agent, who failed to make a real breakthrough into the first team at the Select Car Leasing Stadium before his release a couple of months ago.
He did show flashes of promises in the games he did play in though and may be more suited to the third tier. At 20, he’s in the stage of his career where he desperately needs to play first-team football. They may be reasonably well-stocked out on the wings, but the addition of a promising player on a modest contract wouldn’t do any harm.
Like Mendez-Laing, this one could genuinely happen but whether they will go back in for him or not may decide on the size of their wage bill and to avoid wasting money on his salary, a trial could be lined up for the winger beforehand to allow Moore to assess the 20-year-old.
Like Wisdom, Jozefzoon was also released from Derby County in the summer and is yet to find a new club despite his experience in the Championship with the Rams and newly-promoted Premier League side Brentford.
Seeing the Dutchman in live action for the Bees, you can tell he can run at defenders, can beat a man at pace and be a real threat out wide. Kadeem Harris could probably return and do a similar job that Jozefzoon would do.
However, it felt like the right time for Harris to move on in the summer and after going on trial at Reading, he may be holding out for a Championship move.
For 30-year-old Jozefzoon, he would probably accept a one-year deal whilst he considers his long-term options and if the Dutchman can make an impact at Hillsborough, it could be a mutually beneficial deal even if his stay is just a short one. It’s definitely one for the club to consider.
Taylor’s wage demands may make a potential move for the former Welsh international impossible, but the 32-year-old only made three appearances for Aston Villa last season and is yet to find another club.
With this, he could be tempted by the prospect of regular first-team football with the hope of getting back to the Championship. A man of his quality would be likely to start often, but whether this would be a good signing or not would very much depend on the wage package the two sides could negotiate.
The size of Sheffield Wednesday alone could help the Owls to pull this deal off – and it would be worth opening negotiations with the Welshman to provide competition to Jaden Brown at left-back.
At 32, he still has a few more years left in the tank yet and as a more experienced player in the dressing room with the international pedigree he has, this signing could be a major coup if they can pull it off.