When Sheffield Wednesday announced their retained list earlier this week, it would have been a surprise to many of the club’s supporters that Steve Bruce had decided not to offer Gary Hooper a new deal.
Although the 31-year-old’s time at Hillsborough was somewhat tarnished by his struggles with injuries when at his very best for the Owls, he proved to be one of the most deadly strikers in the Championship.
Having initially joined the club in 2016 from Norwich City, Hooper enjoyed a successful debut season in which he fired in 13 goals as Wednesday navigated their way to the play-off final under then-boss Carlos Carvalhal. Despite suffering defeat at Wembley Stadium to Hull City, it seemed almost certain that the former Scunthorpe United star would be destined for big things in South Yorkshire.
However, after spending the majority of the following season on the sidelines, disaster struck yet again for Hooper in December 2017 as he suffered a serious injury which would result in him missing 15 months of action.
Yet despite this setback, when the forward made his return to action in March, he demonstrated glimpses of his undeniable talent against the likes of Aston Villa and Bristol City and so it was somewhat of a shock that he was released by the club.
Although Bruce will be confident that he can secure a replacement for Hooper in the summer, if he slips up in the transfer window, it could result in yet another season of mediocrity for the Owls.
With interest in the forward being expressed by Celtic, Fulham and Villa (via The Scottish Sun), it may turn out to be a costly mistake by Wednesday to let him go.
What do think Owls fans? Did Bruce make the correct call in releasing Hooper? Or was it an error to let him leave Hillsborough? Get in touch below.
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