Sheffield Wednesday have made their first move of the January transfer window as they have secured the signing of free agent Andre Green.
The 22-year-old has been searching for a club since the summer following his release from Aston Villa.
Green is an exciting winger, who is said to have been a target for the Owls since his Villa Park exit, also attracting the interest of Queens Park Rangers, Barnsley, Luton Town and Brentford according to reports.
Capped twice by England at Under-20 level, Green brings explosive pace and some much-needed creativity onto either flank but will have to be patient to make his debut after Wednesday’s next two fixtures have been suspended due to a large number of positive Covid cases in the Owls’ squad.
When he eventually makes his maiden outing, it will be his first competitive appearance since July.
Andre Green’s career
Green joined Villa at the age of nine where he progressed through the club’s academy set-up. He made his debut in March 2016 to become Villa’s fifth-youngest player to ever represent the West Midlands side, replacing Jordan Veretout in a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park.
The Villains’ relegation to the Championship saw Green snub several Premier League offers to pen a three-year deal with the club, making his full debut against Preston North End in January 2017 before netting his maiden goal against Norwich City in August 2017 the following season.
An injury in the 2017/18 campaign saw Green fall out of favour in the side, leading to a loan spell at League One Portsmouth until the end of the 2018/19 season.
Green scored five goals in 12 appearances for Pompey, including late winners in the FA Cup at Rochdale and Norwich, before he saw his loan cut short by the recently-appointed Villa boss – and former Wednesday defender – Dean Smith in January 2019. Green went onto score only one more goal that season, bagging the equaliser in the thrilling 3-3 draw against the Owls’ Steel City rivals Sheffield United, which saw Villa comeback from a three-goal deficit.
At the end of that season, he celebrated promotion to the Premier League as Aston Villa beat Derby County in the 2019 Championship play-off final. He started in the second leg of the semi-final and came off the bench at Wembley.
The following season saw Green be loaned back down to the Championship to join Preston, however, his loan was disastrous, and he ended the campaign in relegation on loan at Charlton Athletic, scoring twice, before he was released by the Villains.
How will he fit in at Hillsborough?
Green brings in some much-needed creativity to a side that has been deprived of goals. The Owls are the league’s second-lowest scorers, with only 15 goals scored in 23 games during a season to forget.
Wednesday currently sit 21st in the Championship, starting the campaign on a negative 12-point tally – halved to six after appeal – and are only outside the bottom three on goal difference.
Green can operate on either wing, adding strength and competition to a position occupied by Kadeem Harris and Adam Reach, with Moses Odubajo also being deployed further forward. He can also play in a centre-forward role.
In his six-year professional career, Green has averaged 0.9 shots per game, which is the same as what Harris has averaged in 20 games this season.
Green also makes on average 0.1 more successful dribbles per game than Reach but makes 0.8 fewer key passes than the 27-year-old.
He also draws in 0.6 fouls per game and has made an average of just one successful dribble per game, however, these numbers could increase greatly with consistent game time, something that he has struggled to maintain throughout his career.
Green’s directness and eye for goal will be welcomed to the Owls, who average a league-worst 8.4 shots taken, with only an average of 2.6 of them hitting the target.
Smart business from Wednesday
The addition of Green is a smart move for Wednesday, who remain without a manager after Tony Pulis’ sacking in December.
Their next appointment will inherit a gem in terms of attacking talent, which, arguably, Wednesday have missed since Jacob Murphy’s loan came to an end last season.
Green and Harris could become vital components in driving the Owls upfield with their profusion of pace and skill, with the consistent Reach being another competitor for the freedom of one of the flanks.
Overall, the move is something that Wednesday desperately needed. Green is a promising young player with a potential resale value, who still has a long time to develop and improve to show why he was highly rated at Villa. The winger should also use this move as a clean slate to get his career back on track, proving to be beneficial for both parties.
However, this must be the first signing of many if Wednesday are to improve the side and escape the threat of relegation this season.