The 2019/20 season is underway, and after Sheffield Wednesday’s soft transfer embargo was lifted, there’s finally been some transfer action at Hillsborough…
But that could all be changing now, with Keiren Westwood’s new deal finally being confirmed, and the announcement of Julian Börner – making him officially the first new signing ahead of the new campaign.
Anyway, I thought I’d put together a page for all the new signings (hopefully our lad Julian isn’t the only one!) and just keep updating it to give everyone a bit of an idea about who they are, where they come from and what they could offer at Hillsborough next season.
So here we have it, the new Owls as we hope for a much happier start to this season than we had to the last one!
From: Arminia Bielefeld
For: Free Transfer
Position: Centre back
The 28-year-old left-footed central defender is the first of the 2019/20 signings to be announced, and has already linked up with his new teammates in Portugal… Börner has played almost 150 games in 2. Bundesliga over the years, and isn’t shy of a goal having scored 19 in 149 appearances for Bielefeld during his time there (he also got five assists).
He’s been almost exclusively deployed as a centre back over the course of his career, however has also slipped into left back and defensive midfield a couple of times. He’s a German youth international, was captain of Bielefeld before his exit, and his experience of slogging it out in Germany’s second tier make him a potentially very interesting find. Last season, Bielefeld only won three of the six games that he missed.
For: Free Transfer
Given the pesky financial situation that we currently find ourselves in, it’s no surprise to see us snapping up another free transfer in Odubajo. The former England youth international left the Bees at the end of last month and, like Börner, has been part of Wednesday’s preseason. He’s obviously no stranger to the Championship, and to date has played more than 115 games in England’s second-tier.
As he approaches his 26th birthday, the fullback has directly contributed to 50 goals in all competitions – though primarily in League One – including 10 assists in the Championship and Championship playoffs. He played 30 league games for Brentford – at RB, LB, RM and LM – in 2018/19, completing 24 successful dribbles, 26 key passes and 44 tackles. Just 10 of his 51 crosses were accurate though, so that could do with some work.
From: Cardiff City
For: Free Transfer
Position: Left wing
Another bargain buy joined the Owls at the weekend as Harris, who was another one with the squad in Portugal, and he’s the first one to come on board who had a -top-flight campaign last season… The 26-year-old played 15 games for Cardiff in all competitions, scoring his first Premier League goal in the win over Fulham in October. He also played against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Unfortunately for the former Wycombe Wanderers man, most of his appearances last season came as a substitute, but he did manage 0.5 key passes and dribbles per game in the 366 minutes that he got in the PL, though his 15 crosses in those 13 games should improve in the Championship in 2019/20. A surprising stat for the winger is that he was only dribbled past once in the PL (12 successful tackles from 13, 92%) and it certainly seems like he’s not afraid to put in a shift defensively as well.
From: Fleetwood Town
For: Free Transfer
Signing number four comes in for Sheffield Wednesday, and it’s another free transfer as Lee Bullen looks to strengthen to goalkeeping department following a serious injury to Joe Wildsmith’s knee and Keiren Westwood’s recent red card, and 33-year-old Jones has been chosen as the man to come in. With over 300 appearances to his name, the 33-year-old comes in with plenty of experience, though the bulk of those games have been in League One and Two.
Jones has got 82 clean sheets in his 319 senior appearances stretching back to 2005, but only played three games in 2018/19 and was on the losing end in all of them as he struggled to break into Joey Barton’s Fleetwood team following an exit from Norwich City almost exactly a year ago. A fun fact is that Jones became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty at the new Wembley Stadium when he kept out Morecambe for Exeter in the 2007 Conference playoff final, though they still went on to lose the game 2-1. His last league game was in April 2016 while at Portsmouth.
From: Queens Park Rangers
For: Undisclosed Fee
Position: Centre midfield
It’s signing number five for Wednesday, and Luongo comes in as the first player that we’ve actually paid money for in this transfer window. It comes on the back of selling Lucas Joao to Reading, and the QPR man comes in on the back of a season where he played over 40 games in all competitions. The 26-year-old has directly contributed to 51 goals in 239 games from midfielder in the Championship and League One, including seven last season as he played 90 minutes on 37 occasions.
Since the start of last season, only one player has made more successful tackles than the Australian international (126) in the English second tier, and he’s already almost made half a century of appearances for the Socceroos – scoring six times. Last season he made 58 interceptions, 80 blocks and 42 key passes for QPR – just three players in the league blocked more passes (56), and only four central midfielders won more aerial battles (85). He finished the season with 71% pass completion.
From: Newcastle United
They’re coming thick and fast now on! It’s deadline day, and it’s signing number six completed by the Wednesday… 24-year-old Murphy comes in on loan from Newcastle for the 2019/20 season, and is no stranger to the Championship having played 59 games in the division, scoring 12 and assisting 10 for Blackpool, Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion. He’s spent the majority of his time on the right wing, and before his loan last season he was used in the Premier League by Rafa Benitez against the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea, grabbing an assist v Everton in December.
Murphy, who has played for England at U18, U19, U20 and U21 level, completed 19 dribbles and made 10 key passes in the PL and Championship last season, however his best campaign was in 2016/17 when he got eight goals and eight assists for Norwich prior to joining NUFC. Meanwhile, only three WBA players averaged more shots per game than he did (1.5) last time out, and his pass completion over the past three seasons has been around the 66% mark. He’s played LW, RW, LM, RM and AM in recent years, giving Bullen (or whoever takes over) a few options.
Position: Central back
They were after another centre back, and they’ve got another centre back… Like Borner, Bates comes to SWFC from 2. Bundesliga in Germany, but unlike the German he is no stranger to British football. Despite being just 22, the defender has played around 100 senior games, and he’s also got a bit of UEFA Europa League experience having played twice for Rangers in qualifiers in 2017. He’s also got four senior Scotland caps, and has been known to play at right back as well when called upon.
in 2018/19, Bates missed nine games for Hamburg narrowly missed out on promotion, and they kept just two clean sheets in his absence – they kept 12 in the 25 that he did play, and he picked up just five yellow cards all season despite playing almost 2000 minutes. Hamburg averaged 1.68 points per game while he was playing. In his last season in the UK, with Rangers in 2017/18, the former Raithe Rovers man was on the losing side just four times in all competitions, joining SWFC with 11 defeats from 48 games over the last two years.