Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo insists “the time was right” to quit Queens Park Rangers for Sheffield Wednesday - a move he hopes will ultimately lead to the Premier League.
Looking to make his Owls debut in Sunday morning’s (AEST) Yorkshire derby at home to Barnsley - possibly off the bench - Luongo sees the move north as the perfect antidote to becoming “part of the furniture” at QPR.
With the R’s stricken by Financial Fair Play penalties and unable to table an attractive new deal as Luongo, 26, entered the final year of his contract, there was no hesitation when Wednesday first expressed interest late last month.
“The situation at QPR wasn’t that great because of the financial position they’re in and I spoke to a lot of people at the club, the chairman, coaches and (director of football) Les Ferdinand and it was obvious they weren’t in a position to offer a new deal,” explained Luongo.
“It was a matter of just getting me off the wage bill ... it wasn’t a case of me having to go though.
“I think they were trying to push me in the right direction and trying to get the best for me and help me in that way.
“It was definitely time for me to move on. I was starting to become part of the furniture at QPR.
“I’m thankful for everything they’ve done for me but it just wasn’t to be. It wasn’t meant for me to stay.”
After four years at Loftus Road, where the prospects of promotion have been more about idealism than realism,
Wednesday are far better equipped to make a meaningful fist of at least making the play-offs.
Steve Bruce’s acrimonious defection to Newcastle United as left club legend Lee Bullen at the helm as caretaker coach with a strong squad at his disposal and the credible ambition of returning to the top echelon after a 19-year absence.
“This is a big club and their ambitions of going up are really high,” added Luongo.
“Every time I came up against them on paper they had such quality in their squad and they are always pushing.
“Last season they didn’t have the best time (a mid-table finish) but previous to that they’ve always there or thereabouts around the playoffs.
“Having played my football down south and not knowing so much about teams up here you don’t realize how big the club is until you’re in the city itself, at the stadium and at the training ground.
“They get 30,000-plus for home games and with Sheffield United now in the Premier League the plan is to hopefully get both the city’s teams up there.”
With the Owls 3-1 winners at Reading in their Championship-opener, Luongo doesn’t expect to start against Barnsley but anticipates perhaps getting some minutes off the bench.
“I’ve come here to strengthen the squad and I’ve come here to play,” he said.
“But they won last weekend and if they keep doing that my place in the team is probably going to be on hold for the minute.
“You can’t change thing a winning team - let them do what they do.
“I’ve signed a three-year deal and I’m definitely going to get my chance. I’m just here to add to an already quality team.”
As Graham Arnold traverses Europe scouting players for next month’s opening World Cup qualifier against Kuwait, Luongo sees the move only enhancing his Socceroos position.
“It’s a new challenge which will definitely bring out the best of me - on and off the field,” he said.
“I’m trying to earn my spot in the team and gain the respect of the players. That can only make me a better player.
“Hopefully I can take that into the national team. I’ve got to keep my performances up and if I can get a good run of games then I should put myself in a good position.”
Luongo hopes Bullen lands the Owls job on a permanent basis.
“He seems like a really good guy. The boys love him and he’s been in the system for quite a while here,” he continued.
“He has everybody’s respect and that’s a nice thing to come in to.
“Wednesday have always been a passing team that like to play attacking football and are nice to watch and I don’t think they’ll stray too far from that.
“That’s one of the reasons I choose to sign for them.”