Dom Howson column: Potential takeover could spell the end for some Owls players

Kieran Lee.
Kieran Lee.

Hundreds of professional footballers are made redundant by clubs every summer.

Some quickly find work elsewhere. Some weigh up their options and play the waiting game. Some just don’t get offered anything.

Thirteen members of Wednesday’s squad are out-of-contract in the summer. Lewis Buxton, Joe Mattock, Glenn Loovens, Jose Semedo, Chris Maguire, Giles Coke, Rhys McCabe, Kamil Zayatte, Jacques Maghoma, Kieran Lee, Paul Corry, Rafa Floro and Chris Kirkland’s futures will all come under the spotlight more and more as the 2014/15 season unfolds. Slovenian international Dejan Kelhar’s deal expires at the end of January.

You would think head coach Stuart Gray will be keen to retain a number of those players. Mattock, Loovens, Semedo, Maguire, Maghoma, Coke and Lee have all made positive contributions and served him well in his 13 months at the helm. Numerous injury problems have hampered Buxton and Zayatte while Kirkland has spoken of his desire to leave on loan to play regular first-team football again. McCabe, Corry and Floro may have to move on to get the game time they so badly crave.

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Then again, everything could be turned upside down if new owners come in. Should the Thai investors who are in dialogue with Owls chairman Milan Mandaric regarding a possible £30m takeover decide to buy the Championship club, they are bound to have their own ideas on how they plan to restore the club to its former glories.

If the Thai group bought Wednesday and increase Gray’s playing budget, promising to give him more money to spend in the transfer market, that potentially changes Gray’s recruitment drive. When Hafiz Mammadov’s buyout appeared destined to go through last summer, Gray admitted he “might be looking at a different type of player” due to an increase in his budget. Wherever the team end up come May, the Owls head coach may decide to have a major clear-out, letting a big proportion of his out-of-contract players go, in an attempt to significantly revamp his squad.

Lots of footballers say they take no notice of takeover talk, insisting it is out of their control. Rest assured, the Owls’ out-of-contract players will be watching what happens off the field with great interest. Their very futures could depend on the outcome.

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