WHEN it comes to deadline-day drama across Yorkshire, no-one can say that it has been in short supply at Sheffield Wednesday or Hull City in recent summers.
Traditionally known for leaving key pieces of transfer business to the 11th hour, it has the portents of being no different this year ahead of today’s 5pm summer deadline, which is in operation for Championship and Premier League clubs.
The Owls, who were busy lining up deals to bring in Massimo Luongo and Jacob Murphy on Wednesday, have a long-standing interest in Michael Hector with the former Chelsea loanee making a huge impression during his time at Hillsborough last season.
His feats saw him crowned as the club’s player of the year in 2018-19, with his place in the hearts of Wednesdayites being such that Owls supporters unfurled a Jamaica flag outside Hillsborough demanding that the board ‘Bring Back Big Hec’ in homage to his successful spell at the club.
Should the South Yorkshire outfit top off a fraught summer on the transfer front – blighted by the club operating under a ‘soft embargo’ for spells and being stymied by Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations – with the addition of Hector, then much of what has occurred during a testing close season will be assuaged.
Should Hector return to Hillsborough today, the sense of deja vu would be sweet for Wednesday, who have been in talks with the 27-year-old about a permanent move to the club.Leon Wobschall
That was the case at the end of the last summer window when Wednesday made up for lost time with the loan additions of Hector and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Josh Onomah.
Should Hector return to Hillsborough today, the sense of deja vu would be sweet for Wednesday, who have been in talks with the 27-year-old about a permanent move to the club.
Across at Hull, the emotions of supporters are similarly likely to be ones of relief if Jarrod Bowen is still a Tigers player by the close of business today.
Hull head coach Grant McCann is said to be cautiously optimistic that he can hang onto the free-scoring winger, who netted 22 goals last season.
But given the predilection for intrigue at the end of summer windows in East Yorkshire, then few followers of an amber and black persuasion would predict that with certainty – more especially if the Tigers’ hierarchy receive a big-money offer.
Incoming-wise, Hull remain keen on Doncaster Rovers midfielder Ben Whiteman – although any successful move is likely to hinge on the club selling Markus Henriksen.
The Norwegian has attracted interest from overseas, but with the transfer window open across the continent until the end of this month, European clubs may elect to keep their powder dry.
Last season’s final-day summer transfer drama at Hull saw Tommy Elphick and Chris Martin join, while moves for Middlesbrough duo Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson floundered – with the latter joining Sheffield United.
The last day of business in the summer of 2017 saw Fikayo Tomori arrive, while a deal to bring in Leicester’s Ahmed Musa failed to get over the line.
That was nothing on the frenetic activity the previous year when Hull brought in Manchester United’s James Weir – with deals to bring in Dynamo Kiev forward Dieumerci Mbokani and Henriksen only getting over the line in the final minutes of the window.
The finale to business in August 2016 proved an eventful one for Wednesday, also.
They became the fourth Yorkshire club to smash their club record that summer after bringing in Middlesbrough winger Adam Reach for an initial fee of £5m as the Owls arrived late at the party in a major way on deadline day.
Twelve months on, the significant late summer drama at Hillsborough centred on Derby County midfielder Jacob Butterfield coming to the club in a swap deal which saw Sam Winnall head the other way to Pride Park.
Having done the lions’ share of their incoming business, breaking their transfer record four times to bring in Luke Freeman, Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset and Oliver McBurnie, Sheffield United are likely to be afforded the luxury of a relatively calm deadline day today – although manager Chris Wilder remains keen on bringing in another midfielder.
The deep-seated concerns of the Blades chief were compellingly laid bare in a ‘day-in-the-life’ access-all-areas deadline day video just under two years ago when Wilder was centre stage.
It saw the club welcome the cameras into their Shirecliffe training ground to capture a frantic 24 hours on what has been affectionately nicknamed as ‘yellow tie day’ in deference to Sky Sports presenter Jim White, the TV face of deadline day.
The Blades snapped up Ben Heneghan from Motherwell and Clayton Donaldson from Birmingham City, but saw three deals fall through much to the intense frustration of Wilder.
He might just be feeling a bit more contented about things this time around.