Sheffield United: Another indication of United World's growing influence could come this summer

Towards the end of last year, when Paul Heckingbottom replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Sheffield United manager, “synergy” was one of the buzzwords used by club officials during the press conference arranged to confirm the 44-year-old’s appointment.

Thursday, 10th February 2022, 3:15 pm

Not only behind the scenes at Bramall Lane, where Heckingbottom has been tasked with increasing the flow of talent between the academy and first teams, but across the entire United World project as well.

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As United continue their battle for Championship play-off qualification and Beerschot, the other leading name in the global network of footballing interests established by owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud fight against relegation from Belgium’s top-flight, promoting greater collaboration between UW members appears to have been put on the backburner for now.

But behind the scenes, efforts are continuing to accelerate this process. Although software designed to encourage scouts working for the likes of United, Beerschot, Kerala United and Chateauroux to cross reference their data is understood to have been purchased recently, the first obvious indication of the coaction UW chiefs want could come this summer.

As The Star revealed earlier this term, sources within the game are reporting that UW are investigating the possibility of asking kit suppliers to tender for the right to supply appareil for all of the names under its umbrella, which also include Al-Hilal United. Adidas’ partnership with United is thought to expire at the end of the present campaign and, unless they agree to provide clothing across UW, a new partnership could be sought.

Errea, based in the Italian commune of Terrile, are believed to be one of the companies under consideration with preference possibly being given to those willing to pay a lump sum up front rather than, as is the custom among some industry leaders, stagger the monies they pay to clients across the course of a contract.

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United (R), with Oliver Norwood and lliman Ndiaye (C): Andrew Yates / Sportimage

Errea already work with a number of sides in England, including Queens Park Rangers and Port Vale. They have also entered into an arrangement with Boreham Wood, the club Iliman Ndiaye represented before moving to South Yorkshire. Ndiaye is expected to feature in the squad which travels to Huddersfield Town on Saturday, after making his 22nd appearance of the campaign during last night’s win over West Bromwich Albion.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom and his assistant Stuart McCall: Simon Bellis / Sportimage