Deadline Day: Late deals done as Yorkshire rivals scramble to strengthen their options

Sheffield United new signing, Marvin Johnson, after making the switch from Middlesbrough. Picture: SportImage.
Sheffield United new signing, Marvin Johnson, after making the switch from Middlesbrough. Picture: SportImage.
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SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Jos Luhukay believes this year’s overhaul of the transfer window did not go far enough as the deadline for loans passed with several Yorkshire clubs scrambling to do business.

A number of deals were pushed through before 5pm on Friday with Hull City bringing in Tommy Elphick and Chris Martin from Aston Villa and Derby respectively.

FRUSTRATED: Sheffield Wednesday boss, Jos Luhukay. Picture: Steve Ellis

FRUSTRATED: Sheffield Wednesday boss, Jos Luhukay. Picture: Steve Ellis

The Owls made their first two additions of a previously barren summer by snapping up Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Josh Onomah and Chelsea defender Michael Hector.

Sheffield United also signed Conor Washington following his release by QPR and later added Marvin Johnson from Middlesbrough, who had been a target for Hull.

Going out of Bramall Lane was midfielder Ryan Leonard, who joined Millwall for a fee in excess of £1m – breaking the London club’s previous record transfer, set last week when buying Tom Bradshaw from Barnsley. Leonard was joined through the exit door by striker Caolan Lavery, who joined Bury.

Elsewhere, Richie Towell returned to Rotherham United from Brighton & Hove Albion.

The best solution would be for the whole window to shift across Europe on July 31. The competition can then begin with every coach knowing their squad and every player focused on their own club.

Sheffield Wednesday head coach, Jos Luhukay

This late rush to get moves over the line follows a change that saw the window close for permanent deals in the top four divisions of English football on August 9.

Football League clubs were then given dispensation to loan players until Friday, effectively allowing temporary deals to be struck that will become permanent on January 1 to leave many managers asking whether the overhaul was worth it.

“I have thought for many years that it needed a bigger change,” said Owls chief Luhukay to The Yorkshire Post. “I do not understand why the transfer window has always been August 31.

“Only in England did they bring it forward to August 9, but to me that is still not the right date. It should finish for everyone in Europe at the end of July.

Derby County's Chris Martin joined Hull City on deadline day. Picture: James Williamson

Derby County's Chris Martin joined Hull City on deadline day. Picture: James Williamson

“That means when the competitions start then everyone is the same. The holiday time gives you May, June and July for work on your squad and your team and maybe on new players.

“Why is it always the situation that the competition is under way and there is speculation about players, whether they will go or stay? Or talk about new players?

“That makes no sense. The window should stop on July 31. Now, with it being August 9 here but 31 in Europe, the feeling from players is they can do something maybe from the outside. That is not a good solution.

“The best solution would be for the whole window to shift across Europe on July 31. The competition can then begin with every coach knowing their squad and every player focused on their own club.”

Across the Steel City, Chris Wilder is an advocate of a window being in place. But, like Luhukay, he feels the set-up introduced this year has made little difference to teams below the top flight.

“I do believe in windows,” said the Blades manager, fresh from ending his summer-long search for a striker by bringing Washington to Bramall Lane. “I do believe you have to work in them and that you should work to a salary cap.

“It is a test of managers and coaches to utilise what they have got and not just be allowed to think, ‘We have got an injury, let’s do this’. I am a big believer in the two windows, but possibly it should just stop on one date to get it over and done with because, really, it has not changed very much.”

One thing that certainly did not change in 2018 compared to recent years is Hull frantically trying to get business done on the final day of the window.

Elphick arrived from Villa, becoming Hull’s first new addition since July 18 in the process. He was closely followed by Martin, but attempts to add Middlesbrough duo Ashley Fletcher and Johnson were scuppered.

Luhukay, Wilder and Adkins are well versed in the trials and tribulations of a transfer window, but Bradford City head coach Michael Collins has been experiencing his first one.

The Bantams brought in 16 new faces after signing Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien on Friday.

“There are pros and cons,” said Collins, who also released Matthew Kilgallon so the defender could join Scottish side Hamilton. “There will be times during the season when you pick up a couple of injuries and you would love to be able to tap in certain resources.

“But it is what it is now. Everyone understands – you get plenty of time to get the recruitment done. We are quite happy with what we have done.”

Other deals to go through on Friday included Leeds duo Eunan O’Kane and Vurnon Anita heading to Luton Town and Willem II respectively.