And so, Sheffield Wednesday once again got so close yet it feels so far. While they didn’t suffer Wembley heartbreak like last year, being beaten on penalties in front of your home fans by a fellow Yorkshire side also hurts really bad.
But the Owls must dust themselves and go again, no matter how hard it is. And that means signing new players. Wednesday don’t need to do much to their squad, just swap a few pieces around and that would certainly have them up at the right end of the table. And one player I would recommend is Tom Ince.
That’s because for me, Wednesday have two problem areas that need to be the priority to sort this summer. Centre back, which has a real lack of depth and I may address that in a future article, and on the wings. Only Ross Wallace has really worked out for the club on that front. Elsewhere we’ve had the likes of Marco Matias, Callum McManaman and Will Buckley but all have struggled to make an impact. It’s why Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri have been forced to play in the position this season. So what Wednesday need is to bring in a proven winger who has been effective in this league. Ince is that man.
Over in the East Midlands, their recently appointed head coach Gary Rowett is looking to completely reshape the squad. This could be a boon to their rivals as a number of great Championship players are now up for sale, with some of the people heading out of the iPro Stadium being Jason Shackell (Actually he could sort Wednesday’s defensive problems out), Darren Bent and Nick Blackman, a former target for the Owls. Ince is one of the players being transfer listed and that is a great opportunity for Wednesday.
In terms of a winger, Wednesday need a game breaker who can take players on and run at defenders with speed. It would offer variety that Wednesday need in a game because they already have someone who can put in great balls (Wallace) and someone else who can use trickery to get his way (Forestieri), so yes they would need someone with bags of pace. Ince is that guy.
Even though Derby are getting rid of him, you can’t argue with the impact he had on that team. He scored 14 goals, that’s more than any Wednesday player got this season, and also registered six assists which shows he does contribute elsewhere on the pitch. There is a reason that he was voted as the 21st Best Player in the EFL.
Now some of you may disagree with me because he’s gained a bit of a bad reputation over the last few years for not making it on the biggest stage. He’s been at Hull City and Crystal Palace in the Premier League and didn’t make an impact at either, which is why he is now back in the Championship. With it being likely that Wednesday would not want to spend a lot of money on players who can’t make the transition to the Premier League, that is a genuine concern.
But I feel like that experience has made Ince a better player and someone who if he became part of a team before getting to the Premier League, would be a player who could make a serious impact. And if he were to spend a season in the Wednesday team before getting promoted, like all Wednesday fans hope they’ll do, he would be a key player and one of their best.
I’m not sure what fee Wednesday would have to pay to sign Ince, but it would be a sizable one and it would certainly be one of the biggest deals they did this summer. And that could be an issue as this is the summer where Wednesday are believed to be giving £8m to Middlesbrough for signing Jordan Rhodes and there will be cap on spending due to Financial Fair Play. But I think singing a winger is so important for Wednesday this season that Ince would certainly be worth a seven-figure sum.