Sheffield Wednesday remain bullish this summer, if still a little vulnerable following relegation.
Darren Moore has lost some big hitters already after contracts expired on the back of relegation, but he retains a pool of quality.
Naturally, some of those players find themselves in-demand this summer, with Josh Windass generating plenty of headlines this week.
Windass has a number of clubs sniffing around him right now. Millwall, though, are the ones making early moves to sign the 27-year-old. They’ve already seen a £400k bid rejected by the Owls, whilst reports suggest a second offer is just around the corner.
Right now, the message coming out of Hillsborough is that the forward isn’t for sale despite relegation.
However, that interest in Windass should come as no surprise, with the forward delivering his best Championship return to date in the 2020/21 campaign:
As our graphic shows, the key part of Windass’ performance aligned with his Expected Goals and Expected Assists. He struck nine times across the Championship season, matching that with four assists.
In a season full of inconsistency, Windass broke the mould for the Owls. Where the likes of Jordan Rhodes and Jack Marriott let Wednesday down, Windass managed to offer hope.
The Huddersfield Town academy graduate was a constant attacking threat: 78 shots on goal, 21 shot assists and 80 attempted crosses with an accuracy of 25%.
Windass mixed that with a willingness to stretch and occupy defences across the Championship. 1.56 progressive runs per 90 minutes equalled out at 54 combined over the season.
More is asked of a modern-day forward than just occupying the width of the penalty area and tucking away chances. You are the first line of defence, tasked with pressing and hunting for mistakes. Windass shines in this area too, with 77 ball recoveries, over 50% of which came in the opposition half.
An intelligent football brain matches that productivity and work ethic. Whether Windass has his back to goal or is looking to play forwards, he boasts a steady pass success rate of 78.9%. That’s around the average for a Championship striker taking risks in and around the penalty area.
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As you break down the numbers posted by Windass, you sympathise with him. His performance levels over the season didn’t deserve relegation and that’s why he’s in-demand this summer.
It also makes Millwall’s £400k offer to sign him laughable and a little bit insulting.
This is a player heading into his peak years at 27; he could potentially have two years remaining on his contract at Hillsborough, so there’s no need for Wednesday to sell at a cut price. His talent and performance is worthy of a much more serious offer.
Millwall are readying an improved bid now and how the remainder of the summer will play out is anyone’s guess.
Wednesday, though, have to continue to ensure they aren’t bullied when it comes to any sale despite their inevitable vulnerability following relegation.
For now, they are making all the right noises.