Sheffield Wednesday are ‘believed to be in talks with at least three managerial candidates’, including the former Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis, according to BBC Sport’s Ian Dennis.
The news comes after Wednesday sacked Garry Monk, who was replaced by Pulis at Middlesbrough, on Monday evening.
The 62-year-old has been out of work since May 2019, when Middlesbrough failed to renew his contract after a poor run of results saw them drop out of the Championship play-off positions.
Pulis, whose style of play is famously perceived as being uneasy on the eye, won 44 per cent of his games in charge of Middlesbrough.
He also has promotions with Bournemouth and Stoke City on his CV, after which he gained a reputation for keeping clubs – namely Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion – in the Premier League, rather than guiding them to it.
The Welshman has managed plenty of players in that time, including the Wednesday midfielder, Barry Bannan.
But which others could he try to bring to Hillsborough in January – or sooner – after the Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri admitted last week that he is ready to inject funds where necessary?
Here are eight potential targets…
Ryan Shotton – Unattched
Wednesday may be well-stocked in defence, but the injuries have continued to mount in that department. Shotton, who appeared for Leek Town last month but remains a free agent, played under Pulis at Stoke and Boro, where he was known for his long-throws (*eyes emoji*).
Sam Field/Rekeem Harper – West Bromwich Albion
The Owls have struggled in recent weeks to find an adequate stand-in for Massimo Luongo. And signing either Field or Harper, both of whom made their West Brom debuts under Pulis, would strengthen their options in central midfield. Field was described by his former boss as being “as good and as gifted as any footballer I’ve seen at that age”, while Harper “has all the tools to be a player”, according to Pulis.
Muhamed Besic – Everton
For the same reason as above, Pulis could consider the exiled Everton man. Besic was omitted from Carlo Ancelotti’s 25-man Premier League squad and will be looking for a new home with his contract set to expire next summer. Pulis brought the Bosnian to Middlesbrough in January 2019, before his season-long stint at Sheffield United.
Thomas Ince – Stoke City
Pulis could find himself short of natural wingers if he winds up at Wednesday, with Garry Monk’s summer recruitment drive focused on those who could fit his 3-5-2 formation. Kadeem Harris is suspended for the Owls’ next three games, while Adam Reach and Elias Kachunga have often occupied central roles this season. Pulis signed the out-of-favour Stoke player on loan while at Palace and later declared his interest in a permanent deal which never materialised.
Yannick Bolasie – Everton
Bolasie, who was Ince’s teammate and positional rival during the latter’s spell at Crystal Palace, has also been left twiddling his thumbs after failing to make Everton’s 25-man Premier League squad. Pulis tried and failed to reunite with the £25 million DR Congo international at Middlesbrough.
Rajiv van La Parra – Unattached
Pulis did get his hands on Van La Parra, though. The Dutch winger recently left Red Star Belgrade, where he played Europa League football last season, and is said to have his heart set on a return to England. Wednesday could snap him up immediately.
Dwight Gayle – Newcastle United
Goals have been in short supply for Wednesday this season, while Gayle is an expert in that field. In 100 Championship games for Peterborough United, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, the 30-year-old has struck 59. He has spent the early part of the season out injured, watching Callum Wilson impress in his place. And a January reunion with Pulis, who managed Gayle at Palace, could appeal.