Sheffield Wednesday can feel satisfied with their start to the season. There’s work still to be done on and off the field, but after a summer of turmoil, Garry Monk will be happy enough.
A 12-point deduction in the off-season leaves Wednesday fighting an uphill battle to survive in the Championship. However, a positive summer of recruitment has led to them attacking the 2020/21 campaign from the get-go. Five points have been clawed back already.
The October international break gives Monk the chance to assess things further after four games. As mentioned, it’s been good, but there’s room for improvement.
Keeping the squad moving forward in the remaining eight days of the domestic transfer window will not allow anyone at Hillsborough to get too comfortable, but there’s a case that one of the best pieces of business in the Championship has already been done in South Yorkshire.
The man in question is Callum Paterson, who arrived at S6 from Cardiff City for a reported £500k. That fee alone screams bargain, for a 25-year-old who has been making an impact in South Wales for some time.
— Callum Paterson (@Callump7) September 30, 2020
Our first glimpse of Paterson as an Owl came as a centre-forward. He got through 90 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers alongside Josh Windass.
Monk has signed Paterson saw a forward and, true to his word, he’s playing him there. That’s a position he grew into at Cardiff and, in 2019/20, he bagged five goals from 37 appearances largely leading the line.
He’s perfect for Windass to play off, whilst he lifts the pressure off Jordan Rhodes having to find his Huddersfield or Blackburn form. However, there’s more to Paterson than a workhorse in attack and Wednesday might find his versatility more useful than Monk has initially planned.
It’s clear that Monk wants another striker through the door at Wednesday before next Friday’s transfer deadline and, in that scenario, it opens the door for Paterson to showcase that incredible versatility.
He can, literally, play anywhere in the side and it was the 2017/18 season that his versatility made a big impact on Cardiff winning promotion under Neil Warnock.
The 25-year-old produced his best season as a professional, scoring 10 goals and registering four assists in 32 matches. Nine of those goal contributions came from the right-wing, five of the goals came from central midfield and Paterson even played on both sides of the defence.
With Jacob Murphy not returning to Hillsborough after a successful loan spell last season, Monk could well lean on Paterson to move out to right wing-back in this 3-5-2 formation. The success Murphy had there was not because of his defensive capabilities, but more down to the fact the formation allowed him to express himself going forwards.
Paterson is attack-minded and he could thrive there or even in the midfield three sandwiched between Monk’s wing-backs. He’s a solid option up-front for Monk but he isn’t prolific as a striker. That versatility in his role could well outweigh a goal return over 46-games.
In many ways, Paterson is three signings rolled into one. At £500k, he’s a snip, and it takes some of the pressure off Wednesday as they look to shape their squad in the coming eight days.
Monk wants another striker and the international break will see Wednesday work tirelessly to get one in for him. However, Paterson’s arrival lifts the need for that deal and others elsewhere in the squad.
He’s not your marquee signing that gets the Championship’s big spenders taking notice, but he’s incredibly useful and a man Monk will be delighted he’s taking into battle with him.
Signing of the summer? That might be a bit far, but Monk’s already upbeat mood has been lifted by the capture of Paterson – a snip and more than equipped to help Wednesday defy the odds the EFL have stacked against them.