Sheffield United get set to open talks with THREE players
John Egan, the lynchpin of a defence which has helped establish United in the upper echelons of the Premier League table, is also expected to be offered a new deal following an impressive start to the season.
Although securing Lundstram’s future is the immediate priority - an ever-present since August, the midfielder is set to become a free agent at the end of the campaign - Egan and Stevens will be invited to the negotiating table too having both emerged as key figures in Wilder’s first-choice starting eleven.
Despite receiving a pay increase when United were promoted from the Championship earlier this year, Egan’s terms and conditions have not effectively been renewed since his arrival from Brentford in the summer of 2018.
After paying the Londoners a then club record fee, thought to be in the region of £6m, United tied the 27-year-old to Bramall Lane until 2022.
But, like his compatriot Stevens, Egan is now a regular member of the Republic of Ireland squad. Wilder and his coaching staff believe that progress, coupled with the fact it would increase his value significantly, deserves to be rewarded.
Speaking before a 2-0 win over Aston Villa moved his side to within four points of the Champions League places, United’s manager outlined plans to strengthen the options at his disposal during next month’s transfer window, telling owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud it is imperative he builds upon the progress made in recent weeks.
“If we were in a different position, then maybe I’d have said ‘keep your hands in your pocket.’ But we’re not,” Wilder admitted, relaying details of a meeting he held with the Saudi Arabian and his inner-circle in Dubai during the international break.
“We’ve got to keep trying to drive things forward. It’s a ruthless business and you can’t stand still. Otherwise, you get overtaken.”
Although he hopes to acquire at least two new players, one of which can provide cover for Egan’s fellow centre-halves Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham, Wilder also wants to ensure the core of his squad remains intact for the foreseeable future.
Hence, the desire to open talks with Egan, Lundstram, Stevens and their respective representatives.