Sheffield Wednesday’s squad was slowly but surely beginning to take shape, as the team returned to Middlewood Road this week.
Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Chey Dunkley have already signed up to fill the gaps left by Sam Hutchinson and David Bates at the end of last season.
There are, though, other positions still to be filled. Another midfielder is reported to be on Wednesday’s agenda, while the Owls are arguably lacking depth and/or quality both at full-back and out wide, after Morgan Fox and Jacob Murphy also left.
Their main area of concern is, however, at the top of the pitch, where Jordan Rhodes is the last man standing after six (yes, six) of his positional rivals left within the past year.
With their wage bill shrunk and little spent so far in terms of transfer fees, the consensus is that Wednesday will be trying to keep costs down this season. With their chances of promotion severely impeded by the 12-point deduction imposed last month by an independent disciplinary commission, there would be little logic anyway behind the kind of splurge that tangled the club in knots in the first place – even if, for the first time in a long time, spending rules allowed it.
That being said, the Owls may find themselves with some room for manoeuvre should a sensible investment opportunity manifest itself.
And the Charlton striker, Macualey Bonne, could be exactly that.
A rumoured target for Wednesday a year ago (Talksport), Bonne instead joined Charlton in a £200,000 deal from Leyton Orient, in doing so jumping up three divisions from the National League.
The leap didn’t phase him, mind, as the 24-year-old ended his first ever Championship campaign with 11 goals (from 33 appearances) – more than any Wednesday player bar the departed Steven Fletcher.
Bonne is said to have interest from several of the Owls’ divisional rivals, as well as Premier League sides Burnley and Fulham, in this summer’s transfer window (The Sun) . And with Charlton’s future potentially on the line after their relegation back to League One, a price tag as low as £1 million has been mentioned.
Speaking to London News Online this week, however, the Charlton director of football, Steve Gallen, insisted that he has yet to receive any calls regarding Bonne’s availability.
But Gallen added – somewhat tellingly, perhaps – that he is “really pleased no-one has made an offer.”
If that £1 million figure is indeed accurate, then Wednesday should be sniffing around.
And, after James Beattie’s appointment as the Owls’ first-team coach – under whom strikers such as Chris Wood (Leeds) and Che Adams (Birmingham) enjoyed their best ever goalscoring seasons, leading to eight-figure moves to Premier League clubs – it could be a small price to pay in the long run.