LOANS are a sore point at Sheffield United. Sorer than Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s crown jewels following a Wimbledon semi-final in fact.
But given the challenges confronting Bramall Lane’s board of directors and coaching staff right now, do temporary transfers inevitably represent a ticket towards disaster? Or the best way to move forward in future?
The more sensible members of United’s hierarchy will recognise that, long-term, the answer is a resounding ‘no’.
After all, as Shakespeare once wrote, “past is prologue” and no-one, least of all those clutching the purse-strings, will want to revisit that disastrous chapter in the club’s recent history when an influx of hired guns hastened its inglorious slide into League One.
Short term, though, it is possible to mount a convincing argument that borrowing the best of the rest would enable Danny Wilson to lower United’s wage bill without compromising too much on quality.
As John Cofie’s imminent arrival from Old Trafford proves, the manager, his assistant, Frank Barlow, and head of recruitment John Stephenson have garnered extensive contacts during a combined total of more than 100 years in the game.
Put that brains trust to good use and United, given their reputation for polishing raw uncut diamonds into valuable gems, should be able to attract potentially high-calibre players whose potential, in these chastened times, would usually put them out of reach.
Critics who argue that slashing expenditure translates as a lack of ambition are talking nonsense.
The governing body’s decision to adopt new financial measures means, quite simply, United have no choice.
Unfortunately, they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
And United do not owe their position to spending too little.
In fact, they have spent far too much.
Temptation and sentiment have taken precedence over common sense.
Yes, United must keep a core of their own talent intact or risk, once again, returning to those days when a transient populous in the dressing room eroded team spirit.
But, until football’s economy shows signs of improving, until they can comfortably comply with the Salary Cost Management Protocol, it would be daft not to look at ways of embellishing Wilson’s options with some sensibly-thought-out loans.