Sheffield United’s coaching staff, including manager Chris Wilder, have scheduled a series of meetings with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy to prepare for the January transfer window.
Wilder revealed preliminary discussions, believed to have addressed potential targets and plans for some of those players on the periphery of his squad, took place ahead of last weekend’s visit to Bradford City.
Further talks are set to take place later this month as Wilder, whose side are third in the League One table, attempts to build upon its encouraging start to the season.
“I always think it’s short, medium and long-terms plans,” Wilder, who took charge in May, said. “I came into a club that had 10 or 15 players out of contract and that won’t happen next summer. So in terms of contracts and how we want to run the club on every level, we’re talking. The culture is changing, we’re working and speaking. The board have backed me on what I want to do. And those changes aren’t always about getting the cheque book out.”
As The Star revealed earlier this month, Wilder plans to explore the possibility of awarding Paul Coutts and Kieron Freeman new deals after removing both players from the transfer list while Stefan Scougall, who was set to leave South Yorkshire until the 49-year-old’s appointment, has publicly announced he wants to stay put when his contract expires next summer.
United are also known to have approached Wolverhampton Wanderers about the possibility of signing on-loan defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell permanently although, as Wilder recently conceded, a final decision on his future rests solely with the Championship club.
Wilder had initially earmarked a winger as his priority in the transfer market. But the switch to a 3-4-1-2 formation means that is no longer the case. Instead, with George Long’s future with United shrouded in doubt, a new goalkeeper is now likely to feature at the top of United’s wanted list. With Aaron Ramsdale now Simon Moore’s regular deputy, Wilder will not be able to allow the England youth international to continue his development on loan unless Long pledges his future to the club or a replacement is found.
“It’s up to us as a staff to put this club in the best possible position,” Wilder said. “I’m sure we’ll get all the support and help we need.”