Sheffield United: '˜This guy can go on to make 400 appearances for us'
Chris Wilder has predicted John Egan can go on to become one of Sheffield United's leading appearance makers after describing the centre-half as the type of player his club can build a squad around.
Wilder, the United manager, made the claim after shedding light on his recruitment strategy ahead of next month's transfer window.Â
Egan, aged 26, could become the most expensive ever player in Bramall Lane's history following his move from Brentford earlier this year. If United win promotion before the Republic of Ireland international's initial four year contract expires, his fee will exceed the Â£4m they paid Everton for James Beattie in 2007.
Insisting that investment represents value for money, Wilder said: "There are lads you look long-term with, people like John Egan, who can grow with us.
"I'm looking at John to play 300 or 400 games with us. The only way that doesn't happen is if someone comes in with something head-turning, something ridiculous, that everyone agrees is impossible to turn down.
"That's the plan and I've always been a planner. That's the way I'd like to go."
United will enter Friday's match against West Bromwich Albion third in the Championship table after winning 11 of their opening 21 games. Egan has featured in all but one of those, and is expected to anchor Wilder's defence when Darren Moore's side travel to Bramall Lane.
His presence has allowed Wilder to focus on bolstering United's attacking options, with a centre-forward and midfielder known to be among his top priorities.
"We need to strive to get even more out of the lads we've already got," he said.
"Hopefully January will allow us to make some tweaks, with two or three coming in and possible a couple going out who haven't been involved much. The idea is to make us stronger."