Sheffield United: ‘It’s doesn’t take two years to overhaul a squad,’ insists Blades boss

New signing James Hanson scored on his Sheffield United debut last weekend. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
New signing James Hanson scored on his Sheffield United debut last weekend. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Chris Wilder has described Sheffield United’s transfer dealings as “first class” after pouring scorn on the notion it takes two years to overhaul a club’s first team squad.

United have signed 16 players since appointing Wilder during the close season, with four of those arriving at Bramall Lane last month.

Although several of his most recent predecessors warned against expecting too much too soon after taking charge of the League One club, Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, said: “I’ve listened to other managers here saying it would take four or five windows to get to where they want to be. I’m not saying we are exactly where we want to be yet but I do think we’ve made outstanding strides.

“We’ve not paid over £300,000 for a player, we’ve got potential here and experience too. I think what the club has done over two windows has been absolutely first class. Every player wants to be here and what is at stake. They want to be part and parcel of this club going forward. I don’t think that’s always been the case at this football club but it is now.”

Wilder, whose side lead the table ahead of Saturday’s visit to Peterborough, cited the backing of co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as a factor behind United’s rapid progress in recent months.

“I appreciate the backing and I appreciate that the club have allowed me to go out there and get on with my job,” he said. “Now, we have to back up the decisions we’ve made.”

Chris Wilder is pleased with Sheffield United's progress in the transfer market. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder is pleased with Sheffield United's progress in the transfer market. Pic credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But an improved support network behind the scenes has also contributed. Paul Mitchell, United’s head of recruitment, is an innovative thinker while proper recruitment strategies have been drawn-up.

“What we’ve tried to do, leading up through August and this window, we’ve not missed out on much,” Wilder said. “I’m a persuasive manager, I work quite hard on looking at targets and we’re positive in what we want and what we think we need.

“Once they get in the office, I don’t let them go. I just look into their private lives really and find something on them, blackmail them! Joking aside, we sell the club and are positive about it. We network and that’s part and parcel of our job. We know what we want and where we want to be. We have a plan even though sometimes it might not always look like it.”