Sheffield United: Past deals hinder Blades recruitment

Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder
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Sheffield United’s reputation within the game for paying big salaries has hampered efforts to overhaul their recruitment strategy, has Chris Wilder.

Together with new chief executive Stephen Bettis and head of football administration Carl Shieber, the United manager outlined plans to “wrestle back control” of contracts after being appointed in May.

Despite signing nine players since replacing Nigel Adkins at the helm, Wilder admitted the League One club’s previous financial largesse meant it had been harder to deliver value for money than he initially anticipated.

“I’ve had excellent support from Stephen and Carl,” Wilder, who last week captured Cardiff City goalkeeper Simon Moore, said. “But it has been quite a difficult job and possibly tougher than expected.

“Every time we pick up the telephone to call someone, the price goes up in terms of the other club’s valuation and the agent’s valuation. Then, in turn, the player.”

“It’s disappointed me at times as well,” Wilder added. “I want people to come here for the right reasons. I understand finance is a consideration but there should be other reasons too. The players we have brought in have come for the right reasons.”

United’s owners are pumping another £8 million into the coffers this term.

Wilder overhauled Bramall Lane’s transfer policy after being alarmed by the wages paid to some members of the squad he inherited three months ago.

“There has to be accountability to the contracts that have been given out,” Wilder said. “Equally, though, we don’t want it to be panic stations, making panic signings and knee-jerk reactions to results. The players we have identified, we have identified for quite a while.”

Moore became Wilder’s latest acquisition after leaving the Welsh capital last week. Although United would still like to bolster their options in midfield and at centre-half, attention has now turned to offloading some of the players declared surplus to requirements by the 48-year-old and his coaching staff.

Martyn Woolford joined Fleetwood Town before last weekend’s visit to Millwall while John Brayford headed to Burton Albion on a season-long loan.

“I’m not going to talk about individual cases,” Wilder said. “That would be unfair.”

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