This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
12 minutes and a solitary goal tells the story of Lucas Joao’s season at Sheffield Wednesday.
The forward managed a mere appearance from the bench before being shipped on for what was an undisclosed fee to Reading. Despite that, he is still remarkably their joint-third top goal scorer.
In fact, he now has two in total this season, a tally that puts him just three behind Steven Fletcher.
That in itself paints a picture of not only Sheffield Wednesday’s struggles in front of goal, but also their over-reliance on one man in particular.
Atdhe Nuhui has done his best to provide support for the Scotland international and Fernando Forestieri might well give added cover, but considering the one flaw under Garry Monk, letting Joao leave was an error.
Whatever the fee was, there were far more expendable options at Hillsborough this season, not least in Jordan Rhodes who doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the first-team picture at present.
Wednesday still aren’t doing badly this term and sit just outside the playoffs in what is an incredibly tight top half. However, come the end of the season, letting Joao go is something they may live to regret.
The Portuguese has never set the world alight in English football but he did net ten times last term. Based on the fact only two players have scored more than once in the current side for the time being, it would be amazing if anyone other than Fletcher bagged double figures.
Last season the 26-year-old was their second-best marksman behind Fletcher so why did they let him leave? It can only be put down to an error of judgement considering they then failed to bring in a replacement.
Joao was never a regular in the team and only started 18 times in 2018/19 but he was still a valuable option, one you imagine would now suit Monk’s team down to the ground.
Should Rhodes be given a chance?
Possessing the ability to play upfront or on the flanks, it’s a position of the pitch the new boss could do with more quality in, especially with Fletcher the only potent member of the squad.
He’s lacking a second striker capable of finding the back of the net while the performances of Adam Reach on the right hasn’t done much to please supporters either.
Perhaps the £2.25m-rated forward could have been the man to fill in for both roles as he did at times last season.
For the time being, the thing holding the Owls back is their ability to fashion chances and score goals. Via WhoScored, they’ve netted 16 times but from only 12.2 shots per game – the 14th worst tally in the entire division.
What they could do with another man capable of actually finding the back of the net.
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