Chris Wilder reveals transfer talks with Sheffield United's board
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has presented a list of transfer “recommendations” to Bramall Lane’s board of directors as he prepares for one of the most important transfer windows in the club’s recent history.
After identifying several players he believes are capable of filling the void created by Jack O’Connell’s knee injury, with some of those understood to be situated abroad, Wilder is now waiting to learn if United’s hierarchy will grant him permission to make official approaches to their respective clubs.
Preparations for Sunday’s game at Southampton, which Wilder hopes delivers his team’s first win of the Premier League season, are taking place against a backdrop of activity in the market as scouts acting on United’s behalf source information on the targets coaching staff have identified.
Although some of those working behind the scenes are known to view Marcos Rojo, the Manchester United defender, as a possible replacement for O’Connell on the left hand side of Wilder’s defence, the 53-year-old is believed to be monitoring a number of alternative options after holding talks about Preston North End’s Ben Davies earlier this term.
“The obvious one, we have talked about, we need to address that situation,” Wilder told The Star, confirming he is looking at loan rather than permanent signings. “I shouldn’t imagine there will be a lot of movement but from me, there will be suggestions or a recommendation to the board.”
Despite revealing Enda Stevens and Ethan Ampadu, who have both deputised for O’Connell in recent weeks, could start at St Mary’s after making progress in their own battles for fitness, Wilder again stressed it as imperative that United draft-in experienced cover. Wales international Rhys Norrington-Davies, who was presented with a new contract by United earlier this week, has been touted as a possible solution by some, but Wilder suggested the youngster, who is on loan at Luton Town, will remain in Bedfordshire until the end of the campaign.
After sliding to the foot of the table following a run of 10 defeats in 11 top-flight games, Wilder stressed the importance of acting quickly when the window reopens.
“They need to be done, the loans, I’ve said that to the board,” he said. “We need to be proactive.
“Sometimes other people stall it but we have to do our absolute utmost to get the targets we have in mind over the line as early as possible. Because there’s a chunk of games we want them to be involved in.”
“We won’t be bringing permanents in,” Wilder added. “Of course, it’s a difficult window to do business in. But we will do our best and I will do my best.”
With Ampadu and Stevens both taking part in United’s penultimate training session ahead of their trip to Hampshire, Wilder also confirmed striker Lys Mousset “has a possibility” of featuring against Southampton after a minor knock forced him to sit out last weekend’s clash with Leicester City.
"They’ve all played a part in the work-out, to different degrees of course,” Wilder said. “The three of them all have a chance of being on the bus.”