Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest supporters have been reasonably satisfied in recent times after seeing their respective teams make solid if unspectacular starts to the 2018/19 Championship season.
Jos Luhukay’s Owls, placed under a transfer embargo for much of the summer transfer window, are unbeaten in their last four league games to move into the top ten of the second tier table, this all after managing to bring in just a handful of new signings during the close season, namely Michael Hector and Josh Onomah.
Aitor Karanka’s Forest haven’t fared as well as the Yorkshire giants in managing just one win from their opening seven games, although five draws in that time suggests that the East Midlands giants are a tough team to break down and thus beat, while the overhaul of the playing squad during the summer, which saw the likes of Joao Carvalho make the move to the club, means they are likely to get better as the campaign progresses.
And it’s the additions of messrs Carvalho at the City Ground and Onomah at Hillsborough which are of particular interest, so let’s take a look at how the two compare…
There was a huge amount of excitement and anticipation among Forest supporters when their side sealed a £13.2 million deal for 21-year-old Carvalho during the summer, what with the attacker coming up through the ranks and beginning his senior career at Benfica.
Thus, manager Karanka would have been hoping that the Portugal Under-21 international would hit the ground running following his move to the East Midlands, yet he hasn’t quite set the world alight at Forest in failing to net in his seven Championship appearances so far.
And with just one assist in that time, it appears that Carvalho unsurprisingly needs time to adapt to the demands and rigours of English football and specifically the Championship, although for a very hefty sum of money, many would have expected slightly more of the attacker so far.
Nonetheless, there have been glimpses of promise from the 21-year-old, and with more games and thus experience of the Championship under his belt, he is likely to become a very important player for Karanka as he seeks to take Forest towards the upper echelons of the table.
TT Verdict: B
Sheffield Wednesday’s financial troubles, and thus their subsequent transfer embargo, left manager Luhukay unable to improve his squad for much of the summer, although he certainly pulled off quite a coup in luring Tottenham’s Onomah to Hillsborough late on in the window.
The England Under-21 international spent the entirety of last season on loan at fellow second tier side Aston Villa and performed reasonably well, netting four goals and laying on three assists in 33 Championship appearances to help Steve Bruce’s side finish in the top six.
Thus, it’s clear that the 21-year-old has the ability to produce the goods in the second tier, and with game time always likely to be a problem at parent club Tottenham, making the move to Hillsborough seemed to be the best course of action for the attacker.
And while he has only been at the club a matter of weeks, his short substitute cameo in their 2-2 draw with Stoke City on Saturday was full of positives which manager Luhukay will seek to exploit between now and the end of the season.
TT Verdict: B+
Both young and supremely talented, it’s fair to say that Forest and Sheffield Wednesday pulled off transfer coups in luring messrs Carvalho and Onomah to their clubs during the summer.
And while it’s early days for both of them in their respective stints at the City Ground and Hillsborough, Forest chief Karanka may well have expected slightly more from 21-year-old Carvalho, who simply hasn’t yet been able to live up to his £13.2 million price-tag.
That’s not to say that he won’t given time, but it looks at this stage, based on his encouraging debut for the Owls at the weekend, that Wednesday’s shrewder move to sign Onomah on loan from Tottenham may prove to be a better deal.
Forest and Sheffield Wednesday fans… what do you think? Let us know!