5 SWFC Players keen to leave this summer
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Sheffield Wednesday FC

5 SWFC Players keen to leave this summer

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Sheffield Wednesday have struggled in their first season back in the Championship.

Wednesday were promoted from League One last season after defeating Barnsley in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium in May, but they risk relegation to the third tier right away.

The Owls had their worst start to a season in history, leading to the resignation manager Xisco Munoz in October, and while performances and results have improved substantially under Danny Rohl, they are still in a perilous position.

In addition to their troubles on the field, Wednesday has had a turbulent season off the field, with protests against owner Dejphon Chansiri escalating in recent months, and a lack of investment being one of the main causes for supporters’ anger.

Hillsborough has added 16 new players this season, the majority of them have come on loan or as free transfers.

With loanees ready to return to their parent clubs and a slew of senior players out of contract in the summer, including Barry Bannan and Josh Windass, the Owls face a significant rebuild.

Rohl will be looking for Chansiri’s support in the transfer market to bolster his squad, but there will also be a handful of departures.

With that in mind, we investigated which Wednesday players may be looking to leave the club this summer.

Reece James

Defender James joined Wednesday on loan from Blackpool in July 2022, before making the transfer permanent in the summer.

James was an important part of the Owls’ promotion-winning campaign last season, scoring one goal and providing four assists in 34 games across all competitions, playing centre-back, left-back, and midfield.

However, the 30-year-old fell out of favor with Munoz at the start of the season, and his playing time has remained limited since Rohl’s arrival.

Rohl has usually chosen centre-back Akin Famewo and winger Marvin Johnson over James at left-back, and the loan acquisition of Kristian Pedersen from Swansea City in January put him further down the pecking order.

With no hope of regular football at Hillsborough, James will undoubtedly be eager to go this summer, and he should have plenty of options in League One.

George Byers

Since joining Wednesday from Swansea in August 2021, midfielder Byers has become a firm fan favourite.

Last season, Byers scored six goals and assisted three times in 29 appearances across all competitions for the Owls before being sidelined by injury in March.

The 27-year-old returned to fitness at the start of the season, and while he scored one goal and assisted once in 22 appearances for Wednesday in the first half of the season, he struggled to establish himself as a regular starter on the club.

Byers was loaned out to League One club Blackpool in January, but Rohl said there was no rift between the two, adding that he sanctioned his move because he couldn’t promise him playing time.

The midfielder has impressed for the Seasiders thus far, and with his contract at Hillsborough set to expire in the summer, a permanent move to Bloomfield Road appears imminent.

Tyreeq Bakinson

Bakinson is another midfielder who left Wednesday on loan in January, moving to League One club Charlton Athletic.

The 25-year-old joined the Owls from Bristol City in July 2022, and although scoring one goal and providing one assist in 32 appearances across all competitions last season, he fell out of favour during the campaign.

Bakinson was brought back into the fold at the start of the season by Munoz, but he was sidelined once more after the Spaniard’s dismissal, and it was no surprise that he left briefly during the winter window.

The midfielder has struggled to make regular starts during his loan term at Charlton, and with his contract at Hillsborough expiring in the summer, he is unlikely to be granted a new deal.

Mallik Wilks

After a long wait, Wednesday fans were ecstatic when winger Wilks came from Hull City in August 2022.

However, Wilks only scored two goals and provided five assists in 26 appearances in all competitions during an injury-plagued first season at Hillsborough last season, and he struggled to break into the starting lineup when fit.

Wilks has struggled with injuries this season, and while Rohl has lauded him, the 25-year-old has failed to capitalize on opportunities in the team.

Wilks is undeniably a great player, but it hasn’t worked out for him in South Yorkshire, and he may be looking to leave the club this summer to restart his career elsewhere.

Lee Gregory

Gregory joined the Owls from Stoke City in August 2021, and he helped the club win promotion last season, scoring 11 goals and giving six assists in 47 games across all competitions.

Gregory was a regular under Munoz at the start of the season, but his minutes were reduced following Rohl’s appointment, and he has only made one substitute appearance since the end of October.

Derby County and Mansfield Town were among those interested in signing Gregory in January, but despite the fact that he was clearly not in Rohl’s plans, terms could not be reached with Wednesday, leaving many fans wondering why Chansiri did not let him leave to get his wages off the club’s books.

Gregory’s contract at Hillsborough is set to expire in the summer, and the 35-year-old will be anxious to play regular football again following months on the sidelines.

 

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