5 players that could make a crucial difference to Sheffield Wednesday next season.
Nathan Bishop in training with Manchester United (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty images)

Nathan Bishop – Goalkeeper

With question marks hanging over the number one spot for The Owls, this young Manchester United and England Under-20 stopper would be an astute bit of business.

The 20-year-old put pen to paper with The Red Devils on deadline day in January from Southend United after making 31 appearances for the Essex based club. 

Quite the move for a novice goalkeeper, who only started taking the position seriously at 16 years of age when he signed scholarship forms with The Shrimpers

Bishop admits during an interview with FireRedKing he only ever played in goal for his school team and was predominantly a defender growing up, an upbringing key to his superb distribution today, with both his hands and feet.

Impressive all-round performances from Bishop, who’s other strengths include his agility to make double saves and his positive attitude towards crosses into his area saw an English giant sit up and take notice.

Bishop’s resilience is also something to take note of, a young goalkeeper featuring in a side which found itself battling relegation in League One, still put in stellar performances.

However, with David De Gea currently occupying the number one spot, and not to forget Dean Henderson out on loan at Sheffield United, Bishop is unlikely to play any part at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future making a loan move a realistic target for The Owls.

Matt Miazga – Defender

The American centre half is currently a Chelsea player, yet he has spent the majority of his time at the club out on loan, this season with Championship side Reading.

The 6ft 4in enforcer hails from Clifton, New Jersey and kicked off his professional career with New York Red Bulls

He made 34 appearances for The Metros by the age of 20 before he was snapped up by Chelsea for a reported £3.5m in January 2016.

He was quickly loaned out to Dutch side Vitesse for two years where he played in every cup fixture on the way to win the Dutch Cup in his first season.

Over the course of his two-year spell in the Eredivisie, Miazga made 55 appearances and became a fans favourite at the GelreDome. 

A less memorable loan move to French outfit Nantes followed during the 2018-19 campaign, before he was shipped out to the Madejski Stadium towards the backend of that season.

Reading had seen enough to bring him back to the club at the start of this term where he has featured 18 times and has scored twice against Preston North End and Birmingham City.

Again, a loan move could be a viable option for a 24-year-old who has 18 caps for the USA with two years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge. 

Josh Windass – Attacking midfielder 

Making this loan move permanent is both realistic and desirable, while it could be argued the Wigan Athletic Loanee has not set the world alight he has shown sparks of what he can do given a run in a performing side.

After signing on loan on deadline day in January, Windass has made only four appearances in some poor team performances, particularly at Hillsborough but still showed his worth with goals against Derby County and on his debut at Oakwell against Barnsley.

The son of former Wednesday forward Dean Windass seems to have enjoyed his time with The Owls despite the poor run of form which has had little to do with his own displays.

The move would suit all parties; Wigan and Windass seem keen to cut ties and Wednesday could capitalise by securing a bargain buy for a proven Championship player who gives a different angle to Monk’s attacking options.

Given game time Windass could be the perfect replacement for Fernando Forestieri who is out of contract and could be leaving the club in the near future as talks have not been held. 

At 26, Windass is yet to hit his peak. 

He would also fit Monk’s policy of going for younger, ‘hungry’ players as he beings to stamp his own style on the club, which is what is needed. 

Some players which contributed to successive play off campaigns three years ago need to be moved on, fresh ideas and young blood are the way forward. 

Emile Smith Rowe – Attacking midfielder

A product of the Arsenal youth academy, he is highly rated by The Gunners hierarchy and is currently enjoying a productive loan spell with Huddersfield Town.

Signed by the North London club as a 10-year-old he progressed through the ranks eventually making his move into the first team at 17, when he joined the senior squad on their pre-season tour of Singapore in July 2018.

He scored against Atletico Madrid and assisted against PSG, while on tour, which was enough for then Arsenal coach Unai Emery to describe him as a player with “Lots of potential” and hand him a 5-year deal. 

Smith Rowe then made his competitive debut in the Europa League against Vorskla Poltava, soon after, he scored when he started against Qarabag in a 3-0 victory.

This made him the youngest player to score a competitive goal for Arsenal since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

He then moved over to Germany during the January transfer window in 2019, but a groin injury limited his game time for Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.

A year later Smith Rowe has begun to make his mark in England, he signed for The Terriers on January 10thand has been a mainstay in their side since then with a string of impressive performances.

While he has only scored a solitary goal in 10 games, he’s also chipped in with three assists.

Unlikely to be an immediate part of Mikel Arteta’s plans next season, a season-long loan would be a great deal for all parties.

Chris Brunt - Winger 

Someone who needs little introduction to Wednesdayites would be available on a free transfer after confirming on Thursday evening that he would not be renewing his contract with West Bromwich Albion.

The Northern Ireland international has spent 13 fantastic years with The Baggies, who he joined from The Owls in August 2007 for a reported £3m.

In that time, he racked up 380 appearances and notched 44 goals which made him a strong fans favourite with The Hawthornes faithful who are demanding a testimonial for the 35-year-old.

Brunt made his name in blue and white when he signed for the club from Middlesbrough, first on loan and then permanently in 2004.

He was a key member of the 2005 promotion winning squad labelled the ‘Kings of Cardiff’ before impressing for Wednesday in the Championship earning himself a shot at the top-flight.

During his three-and-a-half-year stint at Hillsborough he scored 23 goals in 140 games both out wide on the left and as an attacking midfielder.

He was also deployed as a left-back in his time in the West-midlands.

Providing Brunt’s wage demands are not unreasonably high then this should be something Garry Monk looks at exploring on a year’s contract.

While the squad desperately needs refreshing, cutting down and investing in youth, there needs to be a balance and a man of Brunt’s experience, having played 65 times for his country, would provide that balance.

He could also be vital in the development of 22-year-old Matt Penney who signed a 12-month contract extension on Thursday.