Sheffield Wednesday: I’m happy at Owls, insists Dielna

Owls' Claude Dielna beats Jesus Navas
Owls' Claude Dielna beats Jesus Navas

Claude Dielna insists he is loving life at Sheffield Wednesday despite reports linking him with a move to West Bromwich Albion.

The Frenchman, formerly of Lorient, Istres, Sedan, Ajaccio and Greek giants Olympiakos, has caught the eye since penning a three-year deal with the Championship club at the end of August.

Reports in France suggested West Brom, who are looking to significantly bolster their squad during the January transfer window to stave off the threat of relegation, are tracking Dielna earlier this week. It is claimed the Premier League side watched the 27-year-old in Wednesday’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Manchester City last weekend.

However, Dielna says he is “very happy” at Hillsborough and has set his sights on helping the club maintain their promotion challenge.

He told The Star: “I like Sheffield Wednesday. For me, it’s a good club and I am very happy to be here.

“When I arrived, I needed to adapt. But I think I am playing well now but I know I need to up my level and I can play better.”

Nine of Dielna’s 12 appearances in Owls colours have come as a substitute. Although he has recovered from the knee injury he sustained against City, the versatile defender may be left out of the starting line-up at Nottingham Forest today if Joe Mattock (groin) is available for selection.

“I like competition,” he insisted. “It is good for the team and makes everybody play better.”

In less than five months in English football, Dielna, a free transfer recruit, has been deployed in three different positions by Wednesday boss Stuart Gray. He has provided cover at centre-back, left-back and in central midfield. It was from the middle of the park that Dielna grabbed a spectacular last minute winner for the club in their away triumph at Blackburn Rovers last month. Dielna is happy to play wherever he is required.

“I want to play,” he said. “If the coach needs me to play sometimes at left-back, in midfield or in goal, I will do it.”

Dielna claims “two or three” English clubs expressed an interest in his services after he left Olympiakos last year. But, after speaking to close pal and former Owls player Reda Johnson, Dielna quickly made his mind up on his long-term future.

“When I knew Wednesday wanted me, I wanted to come here,” he said. “Every time I spoke to Reda [Johnson], he told me they are a very good team.”

He conceded it is a “very important” period in the Owls’ quest to qualify for the play-offs, saying: “We have a good chance. We have to keep picking up points.”

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