This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Back in July 2015, Sheffield Wednesday secured the signature of relatively unknown Portuguese youngster Lucas Joao, paying Nacional a pretty hefty £2.5m to take him to Hillsborough.
Aged just 21, the striker had just enjoyed a very decent season in Liga NOS, bagging six goals and providing seven assists which was obviously enough to convince his compatriot Carlos Carvalhal to snap him up.
In his first campaign in South Yorkshire, Joao was solid if unspectacular. Whilst he wasn’t a regular starter, he did manage to make 48 appearances across all competitions, scoring eight times whilst setting up another four as the Owls went on to lose in the play-off final.
He continued to struggle to make the starting 11 in the 2016/17 season and after just seven starts and three assists in the Championship, Wednesday opted to send him on loan to fellow second tier club Blackburn Rovers where he scored three in 13.
Returning to Hillsborough after his spell at Ewood Park, Joao continued to play a bit part role and he scored just twice before January in the 17/18 campaign, including one against bitter rivals Sheffield United.
During that season however, Carvalhal was sacked by the Owls’ hierarchy and Jos Luhukay was named as his replacement on 6th January 2018. This proved to be a bit of a gamechanger for Joao, who hit a purple patch of form under the Dutchman, netting seven goals and providing four assists in the remaining 19 games of that term under his tutelage.
His improved form under Luhukay led to Sheffield Wednesday rewarding the striker with a new contract, keeping him at Hillsborough until the summer of 2021.
He then went on to enjoy his most prolific campaign in a blue and white shirt as he scored 10 goals in 31 Championship appearances during 18/19, with eight of those strikes coming under Luhukay before he was sacked in December 2018.
His strong run of form had alerted other clubs and after coming on and scoring for Wednesday against Reading on the opening day of the 19/20 season, he then went on to sign for the Royals just three days later for a fee of £4.86m, meaning the Owls pocketed a tidy £2.36m profit.
There were flashes of brilliance during the Portuguese’s spell at Hillsborough, but ultimately he was largely inconsistent during his four year stay. Indeed, in a total of 127 appearances he scored just 29 goals, meaning he averaged roughly a goal every four-and-a-half games.
In truth, that is a pretty mediocre record and you have to say that when taking his numbers into account, Sheffield Wednesday worked wonders in the transfer market to sell him on for a significant profit and much more than his market value at the time (£2.25m).
Owls fans, how did you rate Lucas Joao’s spell at Hillsborough? Let us know in the comments below…
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