Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has told Dean Hammond “it’s nothing personal” after the midfielder agreed a settlement to leave Bramall Lane early.
Hammond, the former Southampton and Leicester midfielder, opted to invoke a clause in his contract entitling him to a 12-month deal after his loan spell in South Yorkshire last season.
But Wilder, who replaced Nigel Adkins as United manager, responded by instantly placing Hammond on the transfer list and the club confirmed that a settlement had been reached with the midfielder and his agent at the weekend.
“The situation with Dean wasn’t personal, it never was,” Wilder said.
“But it’s best that it’s sorted out for all concerned. For him and for us.
“We can focus on what we want to be doing and he can get on with things at his end.
“Like I say, it’s best for everyone involved. Now we move forward.
“That’s what my focus is on.”
Hammond, who captained Southampton to the Premier League under Adkins, was hailed as a “top professional” by Wilder’s predecessor when he arrived on loan from Premier League champions Leicester City.
But he failed to win over the Bramall Lane crowd after a series of ineffectual displays, and United’s confirmation that he is no longer with the club was largely met with a positive reaction.
Wilder’s focus now moves towards signing a centre-half, with Kyle McFadzean a target and two other out-of-contract defenders, James Wilson - previously of Oldham - and ex-Shrewsbury man Jermaine Grandison Shrewsbury, thought to also be on a list of possible acquisitions.
Wilder, who was thwarted in a move for former Rotherham United striker Alex Revell last month, has also admitted he wants a ‘targetman’ striker and another central midfielder.