half a dozen first team players released
Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to freshen up their squad this summer as six players have been released following the end of their contracts. Defender Daniel Pudil, midfielders Almen Abdi, George Boyd and David Jones and attacking players Gary Hooper and Marco Matias have all played their last games for the Owls.
The six leave having had mixed success during their time at Hillsborough. Pudil initially joined on loan from Watford in 2015 before making the move permanent and was a key player at left-back as the Owls finished in the top six in both of his first two seasons at Hillsborough. He has latterly become more of a centre-back and has never let the club down during his time and he departs with the best wishes of the club.
Gary Hooper was also a prominent player in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, like Pudil his move was initially a loan deal, moving from Norwich. His link-up play and eye for goal has been missed over the past two seasons during which he has spent much of the time out injured and Wednesday can ill-afford to take risks with high-earners having sailed close to the wind in terms of the financial regulations recently.
David Jones and George Boyd have had less of an impact. Jones signed in the summer of 2016 and although he helped the Owls to finish 4th in the Championship in his first season he has been far less involved this season and at 34 his best years are likely behind him. Boyd was Wednesday's only permanent signing in the summer of 2017 and although he has shown flashes of his ability he has not reproduced the form that saw him feature regularly for Burnley in the Premier League and was somewhat strangely used as a wing-back by previous owls manager Jos Luhukay.
Marco Matias came from Portugal in 2015 with a good reputation and Wednesday fans saw a flash of his ability early on when he scored a stunning goal away to Leeds United. Sadly much of his time has been spent on the treatment table and he has never been able to nail down a regular place in the side. He has shown more consistency in recent weeks but not enough to earn him a new contract.
Almen Abdi will go down as one of the most disappointing Wednesday signings in recent times. The midfielder had been a key player in Watford's success in the Championship and he was seen as the type of playmaker who could get the best out of the Owls array of attacking talents. However, he as barely managed to make it into double figures in starts in a Wednesday shirt in his 3 seasons at the club and he has not featured at all this season.
The wages that these 6 players were on at Hillsborough would not have been insignificant and should help to ease the financial pressure on the club in terms of profit and sustainability regulations. This may afford manager Steve Bruce a little room for maneuver in the summer to provide the Owls with a fresh approach to take into the 2019-20 season.