Plenty has been spoken and written about Sheffield Wednesday’s misfiring forward line throughout the 2014/15 season.
But for me, one of the Owls’ big issues has been their inability to adequately replace forward Royston Drenthe.
The 27-year-old spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Hillsborough, making 15 appearances, scoring a spectacular solo goal in the draw at Charlton Athletic. Owls head coach Stuart Gray wanted to keep Drenthe but he decided to leave Reading and join Turkish side Kayseri Erciyesspor last month.
Stuart Gray, the Owls head coach, is still eager to secure a genuine winger to add a creative spark to his team, having admitted it was a blow losing Drenthe’s services. Jacques Maghoma and Jeremy Helan have attempted, with mixed results, to fill the void.
Gray has stated: “We are a little bit light in that area.”
The stats would suggest Wednesday have struggled without former Real Madrid player Drenthe. The team have recorded just two wins from their last nine outings since his departure.
Drenthe, capped once by the Netherlands, is an individual who hugely frustrates supporters but possesses the ability to unlock stubborn rearguards. He can do the unexpected, lighting up a contest with an exquisite piece of skill as he demonstrated in the second half of Owls’ Boxing Day triumph over Blackpool. With his electric pace and trickery, Drenthe is capable of confusing defenders.
Although he is an athletic, excellent dribbler, Drenthe’s end product let him down during his Owls spell. He quite often surrendered possession cheaply. His inconsistent performances frustrated Wednesday’s coaching staff.
But for all his flaws, Drenthe was a handy option to have on the bench and gave Owls, in flashes, that guile and flair in the final third.
It is a big boost for Gray that Chris Maguire is available for selection again after a two-match ban but the Wednesday chief desperately needs to dip into the emergency loan market and sign someone in the Drenthe mould to reinvigorate his stuttering team.