Say the name Almen Abdi around Hillsborough Stadium and you’ll likely get back a prickly response from the Sheffield Wednesday faithful – but that is quite understandable.
It was such poor a signing that YorkshireLive dubbed him their ‘undisputed captain’ of the Owls’ worst 25-man squad of the last decade.
He never lived up to expectations, and now there’s another name heading down the same treacherous path – Massimo Luongo.
According to reports in his home country Australia at the time (summer 2019), the former QPR midfielder cost around £3.3m, which isn’t too much cheaper than the price paid for Abdi.
Now valued at just £1.44m by Transfermarkt, the 28-year-old has struggled to make much of an impact in the near two seasons that he’s been in south Yorkshire.
In total, Luongo has made 43 appearances for the Owls but hasn’t started a game since a 2-0 defeat to Huddersfield at the start of December and has missed 22 league outings through injury, per Transfermarkt.
He comes back and then gets injured almost instantly – even when appearing from the bench for the odd ten to 20 minutes.
This is very much the same story to that of Abdi and that should have Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri hugely concerned as it’ll be another disastrous cross on his transfer record.
Frustratingly, when the injury-prone maestro is fit, he’s among the club’s best-performing players, but those matches come few and far between.
In 2015, the Aussie was named alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on a 59-player list for the Ballon d’Or world footballer of the year award.
Just two years later, former Rs boss Ian Holloway lauded him as the best player in the Championship, via Goal.com, whilst ex-Owls boss Garry Monk – who signed Luongo in 2019 – waxed lyrical about him last season. He said:
“I think he has been one of our best performing players in terms of consistency across all the games that he has played so far. He is a great lad. He is a quiet leader,” before adding: “I think his performances have been excellent.”
Darren Moore knows all too well about the £18k-per-week dynamo, too. Echoing the aforementioned sentiments, he told reporters in his unveiling press conference: “Mass is an excellent player, we know that. He’ll be a wonderful addition with the squad.”
However, there is a long way to go before Luongo can back up just glowing praise. He must first focus on staying fit – if he can’t, then the Owls could certainly have another Abdi on their hands.
The 34-year-old has not played for another club since his exit from Hillsborough at the end of the 2018/19 season. Luongo best hope he does not follow the same path.
AND in other news, Exclusive: Palmer adamant Liam Shaw shouldn’t be playing for Sheffield Wednesday…