Sheffield Wednesday: Gray’s gamble on Drenthe

Royston Drenthe
Royston Drenthe

Stuart Gray will attempt to get former Real Madrid man Royston Drenthe back on track after snapping up the winger on deadline day.

Drenthe arrived on loan until January from Championship rivals Reading in a surprise switch ahead of the closing of the summer transfer window.

And the 27-year-old lands at Hillsborough looking to rebuild his reputation after a turbulent few years.

That another Championship club came in for Drenthe was treated as somewhat of a surprise by certain quarters in Reading.

After joining Reading last summer, his early days at the Madejski Stadium were positive until an injury derailed his progress.

Drenthe has since struggled for fitness which put him at odds with the Royals’ coaching staff, as did his general attitude.

The one-time Dutch international was told he could find a new club this summer and found himself banished to train with the club’s development squad. He was also not given a squad number.

Owls head coach Gray’s squad has been lauded for its togetherness since he took the reins and he will be confident Drenthe’s arrival will not damage that.

Gray will no doubt look upon the potential Drenthe showed in the early stages of his career as worth the gamble in his bid to cover for the departure of Michail Antonio.

Real Madrid snapped Netherlands age group regular Drenthe up as a 20-year-old for €14million from Feyenoord.

He made 65 appearances over a five-year spell in Madrid and netted five goals, including one against AC Milan in the Champions League.

But his time at the Santiago Bernabéu was far from smooth. Like his time at Reading, he featured regularly in his early months at the club but then found himself on the fringes which brought clashes with coaching staff and personal anxiety issues.

He was sent out on loan to struggling Hercules, a move which turned sour when he reported back from the winter break at week late.

Drenthe then joined Everton on a season-long loan, making 27 appearances and scoring four goals.

After reaching the end of his Madrid deal in the summer of 2012, Drenthe was without a club for six months until joining Russian side Alania Vladikavkaz, before switching to Reading in June 2013.

Gray is likely to return to the transfer market once the loan window opens next Monday as he looks to bolster his forward line.