In what could be interpreted as a thinly veiled threat to those stalling on agreeing extensions to their contracts with the Premier League club, Wilder insisted its interests must come first as English football continues to grapple with the financial issues created by the Covid-19 pandemic - which in March saw all top-flight and Championship matches postponed for a three month period.
“There might be a few lads who leave,” Wilder acknowledged, despite recently seeing the likes of Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick, Oliver Norwood, John Fleck and Enda Stevens put pen to paper. “There might be a couple of situations whereby the players don’t come to agreement and things don’t get sorted out. We have to look after the football club on that front, because that always has to come first. We’ve got to protect that. I won’t hold a gun to the head of anyone.”
United, who are expected to invite Phil Jagielka to spend next season at Bramall Lane despite struggling for first team opportunities last term, have spent nearly a year trying to reach agreement with midfielder John Lundstram and his agent after offering the midfielder a new deal before Christmas. The proposal they tabled, which Wilder recently indicated as a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, is believed to remain unsigned although Lundstram is not thought to be actively seeking a move away from South Yorkshire.