Analysis: The nightmarish scenario Sheffield United's manager wants to avoid
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With £20m being placed at his disposal to build a team capable of competing in the Premier League, United’s manager and his coaching staff are expected to focus their attention on brokering temporary deals for players they believe can help establish it at the highest level.
But with around 18 members of the group he led out of the Championship last term in possession of agreements which expire at the end of the forthcoming campaign, including John Egan, George Baldock, Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge, an influx of new arrivals on short term deals would leave the manager in danger of effectively being forced to build a side from afresh in 12 months time - no matter which division United find themselves in.
Placed under a transfer embargo in January, United elected not to begin negotiations with some of those who were preparing to become free agents in order to focus on their bid for top-flight football.
Even though the English Football League, who jurisdiction they were under at the time, confirmed there was nothing to prevent them from discussing fresh agreements, officials at Bramall Lane instead waited until that ban had been lifted and PL status secured before finalising talks with the likes of OIi McBurnie, John Fleck and Ben Osborn who are now tied to the club for another year.
Although Heckingbottom will be pleased they have accepted, and hopes goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and Jack Robinson do the same, he is acutely aware United can not find themselves in the same position again given the workload and uncertainty it has caused behind the scenes. That means he is set to petition whoever owns them moving forward - be that Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud or any of the three parties currently exploring the possibility of a takeover - to address the situation at the earliest possibility by opening up a line of communication with agents representing Egan, Baldock, Rhys Norrington-Davies, Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe at the earliest possibility.