Dom Howson column: Why it will be difficult for Sheffield Wednesday to trim squad

Claude Dielna
Claude Dielna

Wednesday are rapidly running out of space on the back of their match-day programme to print the names of their own players.

Winger Callum McManaman recently became the 37th professional to be assigned a squad number. That’s right, 37. Claude Dielna, Lewis McGugan or Sergiu Bus, of course, are not even part of that list. More on them shortly.

A grand total of 30 players have been used so far this season. Again, that’s a heck of a lot given we have only just gone past the halfway point.

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The debate over the size and balance of Wednesday’s squad just won’t go away. Since last July, the Owls have added a further 10 new faces but few have been bit hits.

It costs a lot of money to run with a big squad and it is a thankless task trying to keep everybody happy.

You can bank on there being more new arrivals this month. Wednesday are understood to be scouring the market for a new left-back and striker to increase competition for places. There is also a chance boss Carlos Carvalhal may look to bring in a central midfielder to bolster the middle of the park.

If the Owls have their way, there will be some outgoings. Their bloated first-team squad could do with trimming.

With Financial Fair Play rules always at the forefront of their mind, Wednesday recognise the importance of balancing the books. The last thing the Owls want to do is allow their wage bill to rise to an unsustainable level.

Carvalhal has made it clear who is not part of his plans and are free to go find a new home but it is easier said than done trying to shift players.

Take Dielna, McGugan and Bus for example. The trio have been completely frozen out and played little football over the last 18 months.

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It would, for a start, take any club the best part of six weeks to get them up to match speed. Football is a results-driven business so how many managers will be prepared to take a risk on them?

You can’t offload players unless suitable offers come in. Sticking with Dielna, McGugan and Bus for a moment, I don’t know of many clubs who have queued up asking to take them off Wednesday’s hands and their value has only decreased over time.

Some fans have suggested the Owls should just cut their losses and release Dielna, McGugan and Bus but where’s the business sense in that action? It just puts the club more out of pocket. Dielna’s deal expires in the summer but McGugan and Bus are still contracted to the the Owls until 2018.

There are others who the Owls would be open to letting go. There are some big earners at Hillsborough on long-term deals but few clubs can match the wages Wednesday are paying, which is again why clearing the decks will be tough.

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