Alan Biggs Sheffield Wednesday column: Hillsborough will see ins and outs aplenty this summer
Younger, fitter, faster. Three key words going into the summer of 2019.
And here’s one more. Earlier – in terms of when new players are engaged for Steve Bruce’s first full season.
Preferably anyway. We know how these things can drag on through into August, especially with the bigger targets; or with players from the Premier Club whose clubs deliberate on whether to loan out, usually with a wide range of options.
But here’s good news (of a sort) on two fronts.
Sheffield Wednesday won’t be in the bidding for the most coveted players on the market, so no delays there at least.
Secondly, Bruce has a silver tongue and some gold-plated contacts when it comes to loaning talent from the top flight.
As he’s proved already. And you suspect that’s the ballpark area for the most significant incomings.
Which brings us to Newcastle pair Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar ... and the “earlier” part of the equation.
On glimpses – sadly only that – they were exactly what the Owls needed at the time they arrived at Hillsborough and what is required in the future.
Understandably, there are those cautioning against trying to re-sign either player on the basis they made only only nine starts between them after arriving in February. Hardly an antidote to the Hillsborough injury saga.
But here’s the point. They came – as do most loanees from the Premier League – from an environment of hardly any competitive football straight into the hard school of the Championship.
It’s perhaps no wonder they couldn’t get up to sustainable speed and picked up knocks. But they showed zip in other respects – and no little skill.
The key could be getting the loan players Bruce wants in time for a full pre-season with Wednesday, to gain the required fitness and integration with team-mates.
He knows it will be difficult. But such a scenario could work wonders with the likes of Aarons and/or Lazaar, which is why – in respect of their ticking of the wide boxes – I wouldn’t be ruling them out just yet. Six have left with no real surprises – best wishes to them all – and as many, at least, are being sought.
Which points again to the suspicion of a sale or two – because reducing the size of the squad is a stated and essential aim.
It will, I think, be a busy summer of ins and outs.
Nothing off limits amid possibilities so endless that it would be foolhardy to predict – as everything depends in the end on the scale of offers made and Bruce’s skill in manipulating the market.