Chris Wilder says Sheffield United's board will decide if he warrants a new contract

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has confirmed he will not plead with the club’s owners to offer him a new contract after watching many of his Premier League counterparts, including Aston Villa’s Dean Smith, handed fresh deals in recent weeks.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 4:59 pm

Wilder was speaking after it emerged the agreement he signed at the end of last season, having led his squad back into the Premier League, was actually a “renegotiation” of the terms he accepted after being appointed in 2016, when United were languishing in the third tier of English football.

Together with his assistant Alan Knill, the 52-year-old had also gone through a similar process 12 months earlier, despite publicly voicing fears that boardroom politics threatened to derail United’s progress.

With HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud completing his takeover in September, following a lengthy power struggle with long-serving director and former co-owner Kevin McCabe, there have been suggestions the Saudi Arabian’s regime should look to secure Wilder’s long-term future amid speculation West Ham are considering an approach should they dispense with Manuel Pellegrini’s services.

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Smith, whose side visit Bramall Lane on Saturday, was recently awarded an improved contract after restoring Villa’s top-flight status. Brighton and Hove Albion did the same with Graham Potter last month, only six months after being unveiled as Chris Hughton’s successor.

Asked about his own situation, Wilder replied: “No, I’ve not had talks about a new deal. I’m contracted to the football club. I had a renegotiation on promotion. I had a renegotiations in the summer. People think I’ve signed two or three new contracts but they’ve been renegotiations.”

“I’m an employee of the club,” he added. “I’ve always said about players, that we’ll be the ones who come to them. So the same will go for us as a staff as well.”

Beaten only once since September, United have prepared for their meeting with Villa ranked eighth in the table. Smith’s men, meanwhile, are 17th.

Chris Wilder (second left) and Sheffield United's new owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (second right): Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Wilder held talks with Prince Abdullah, and several of his most trusted advisors, in Dubai over the international break. During those meetings, it is thought Wilder stressed the need to build upon United’s encouraging start to their first Premier League campaign since 2007.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith brings his team to Bramall Lane this weekend: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Manager Chris Wilder was asked about his contract situation before Saturday's game between Sheffield United and Aston Villa: Simon Bellis/Sportimage