Sheffield United: Issues remain but The Blades are still planning for the future with Dean Henderson
Seventy-two hours after appearing to issue him with an ultimatum, Chris Wilder seemed more upbeat about the prospects of Dean Henderson returning to Sheffield United when the subject arose during his latest round of media interviews.
The message was the same. Bramall Lane's coaching staff are neither inclined nor able to wait until the closing stages of the transfer window before learning where the Manchester United goalkeeper will be playing his trade next season. But it was the tone of his voice - always the best barometer of the 51-year-old's mood - which suggested he still suspects a deal will eventually be brokered which sees the goalkeeper return to South Yorkshire.
"It's fair to say the club has been in negotiation with Manchester United and Dean," Wilder said. "We can progress that but we can't wait forever. It's above me at the moment. Dean wants to come to us and we want him to play for us, to compete with Simon (Moore) and Marcus (Dewhurst) in the Premier League. It's out of my hands now."
Henderson, aged 22, was an integral part of the United squad which gained promotion from the Championship last term after leaving Old Trafford on a season long loan. Making 46 appearances and keeping over 20 clean sheets, he outlined his intention to broker another temporary agreement with United before representing England under-21's at this summer's European Championships. Although a number of issues have contributed to the delay - including Manchester United's insistence he signs a new contract with them before being loaned-out again - Wilder remains hopeful they can be resolved soon. However, as he acknowledged following last weekend’s friendly against Northampton Town, United are assessing alternative options should the need arise.
"We have to see where it ends up but there will be a time when we have to move on," Wilder said. "We want the players in to integrate them into the group. I know people might say 'well, he's a goalkeeper, it's not important. But it is. It's out of my hands now, from a football point of view, but everyone wants it to happen."