Six centre-forwards never did go easily into two.
And with only one of those – Steven Fletcher – starting Saturday’s win at Reading, you suspected that something would give at Sheffield Wednesday in the final week of the summer transfer window.
But you can only sell those for whom you receive acceptable offers – and Wednesday cannot afford to be giving players away.
So while Lucas Joao is unlikely to sit atop the Owls’ to-shunt list, it is he who appears the most likely to be sacrificed after a bid was made by Reading, which according to the Star’s Dom Howson could boost the Hillsborough coffers to the tune of £5-7 million. A club-record sale.
— Dom Howson (@domhowson) August 6, 2019
It is a fee that seems more than fair for a player who, though unplayable at times, frustrated in equal measure and hit double figures for goals just once in his four full seasons at Wednesday (and only just, at that).
But losing Joao would not be without risk.
He is one of just two Owls strikers believed to be under contract beyond the end of the current season, along with Jordan Rhodes (who is also said to be attracting interest).
And while it is possible there could be clauses in the deals of Fernando Forestieri, Sam Winnall, Atdhe Nuhiu, Steven Fletcher, which would keep them at the club for longer, that we don’t know.
It is certainly not implausible that Wednesday could go from having seven strikers – before Gary Hooper was released at the end of last term – to just one – Rhodes – or even none, in the space of a year.
And with only Joao, for now, bringing in a fee, filling those gaps – with quality – could be a difficult ask, especially in a climate where a circa-10-goal-a-season Championship centre-forward can cost you up to £7m.
Let’s not forget, too, that Wigan have just paid £4m for Kieffer Moore, the Barnsley striker who has hit just eight in 51 games at second-tier level.
We can only hope that Sheffield Wednesday know what they are doing.