Alan Biggs at Large: Why no change at Sheffield United in January could be a good thing

Nothing changes the dynamic of a transfer window like a change of manager and a shift in approach from the top.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 11:01 am
Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Maybe it’s for the best - for this one window only - that January is looking like an uneventful month at Bramall Lane.You can get on with things better in that climate and Sheffield United are showing, under Paul Heckingbottom, that they already have plenty of good things to be getting on with.Had Slavisa Jokanovic remained - and he was the right choice given the brochure sold to him at the time - some major recruitment would have been essential to satisfy his methods and commitment to the cause.Now we know, from his sacking, it couldn’t happen anyway.

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That might not bode well for the future but it is clarity.That Slav demand for wingers?

Well, you could certainly do with one for a club with none, but even the flexibility that would add is not going to change the return to 3-4-1-2 - which was the exact system that got the Blades promoted under Chris Wilder.A holding midfielder? Doesn’t look a pressing need now with Oliver Norwood back in the old routine and Conor Hourihane beginning to shape up under his old Barnsley boss.A free-scoring striker? Well, everyone wants one of those.

The inability to afford simplifies things. And talking of simplicity, recalling Daniel Jebbison from Burton would be bringing back a player I wouldn’t have loaned out in the first place.Keeping together is more the name of the game and this time United are not being raided for assets as they were in the summer - quite willingly, let’s add - during Aaron Ramsdale’s protracted move to Arsenal.Nothing materialised for Sander Berge in the end and the midfielder is only just back from injury, suggesting a deal is even more unlikely this time.There will be interest in some players, of course, and in other circumstances Wilder might have been eyeing a couple up for Middlesbrough.Still might but, beyond the potentially prohibitive politics, you’d guess most of his old charges are a great deal more settled now than they were a few weeks ago.Some offloading is expected, as Heckingbottom indicated, but if United get to February with the core of the old guard in place for a last hurrah it won’t be such a bad place to be.Major change has to follow next summer, in whatever division, but for just this once there is something to be gained from standing still.