CARLOS CARVALHAL will be given the opportunity to lead Sheffield Wednesday’s pursuit of a Premier League place next season.
The Portuguese’s contract was due to run out next month but agreement has been reached in principle over a new deal to remain at Hillsborough.
Ambitious chairman Dejphon Chansiri, who has poured millions into the Owls since taking charge a little over two years ago, retains full faith in Carvalhal being the man to realise his top flight dream.
The pair met in Sheffield on Monday to plot a path forward following a second play-offs exit in as many seasons.
Speculation had been rife following last week’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Huddersfield Town that Carvalhal could move on, a return to Portugal with Benfica even being mooted along with possible interest from elsewhere in England.
But Chansiri always wanted to keep the 51-year-old at Hillsborough, believing stability will be key of Wednesday are to make it third time lucky next season and win promotion.
That wish has now been granted, meaning - providing there is no late hiccup before the deal is signed - the focus can now switch to Carvalhal’s recruitment plans over the summer.
Jordan Rhodes will become a permanent signing from Middlesbrough in an £8m deal the moment the transfer window opens, taking to seven the tally of senior strikers at the Portuguese’s disposal.
There is also George Hirst, son of Owls legend David, on the books. The England Under-18 international made one appearance for the first team in 2016-17 and has created a sufficient stir that Everton are understood to be watching his situation with interest.
Trimming such an unwieldy number of striker options seems sensible,
Having such an unwieldy number of striker options can be detrimental, as was underlined in the semi-final second leg clash against Huddersfield when Steve Fletcher, despite having broken the deadlock just minutes earlier, was replaced by Rhodes around the hour mark.
The substitution, which smacked of a manager having too much choice, back-fired with the Terriers subsequently fighting their way back into the contest and, eventually, progressing at the expense of Wednesday.
Trimming a stable of forwards that includes Gary Hooper, Fernando Forestieri, Lucas Joao, Sam Winnall and Atdhe Nuhiu seems in the club’s best interests.
So, too, does bolstering a defence that, if either Glenn Loovens or Tom Lees was injured, looked paper-thin.
For much of the early season, Sam Hutchinson filled in admirably at the back but this undeniably took something away from the midfield in terms of both tenacity and tackling ability.
Carvalhal’s in-tray also contains a list of eight players who are out of contract on June 30. Vincent Sasso, Jose Semedo, Joe Wildsmith and Modou Sougou are among those facing an uncertain future and a decision is expected this week.