Sheffield United: John Lundstram set for contract talks with The Blades
Sheffield United plan to open contract talks with John Lundstram shortly, following the midfielder's impressive start to the Premier League campaign.
The midfielder, whose present deal expires at the end of the campaign, has emerged as a key member of the squad which enters Saturday's game against Tottenham Hotspur in sixth; scoring three goals in his last eleven appearances.
Lundstram's rise to prominence has been one of the stories of the season so far at Bramall Lane, after making only five starts as United won promotion from the Championship last term.
Despite being linked with a move away from South Yorkshire earlier this year, Chris Wilder has revealed he reassured the 25-year-old about his position at the club before its preparations for top-flight football began in earnest. Lundstram's willingness to accept the challenge United's manager laid down, coupled with his performances since, are now set to be rewarded with an improved and extended agreement.
"I spoke to John well before the end of the season that he wouldn't be going anywhere," Wilder said. "I told him there would be a role for him, that he had to come back and hit the ground running. And he did that. So full credit to him for getting himself right and believing what we said."
Lundstram was on target twice during United's 3-0 win over Burnley five days ago and Wilder added: "We felt he would have a huge part to play. If he didn't produce big performances, then he wouldn't be playing. But his season doesn't finish because he scored two goals against Burnley in November. He's got to to it over four, five or six seasons and really establish himself as a Premier League player."
Lundstram, a former England youth international, signed a three year contract when he arrived at United from Oxford in 2017. A change of system, with Wilder electing to add greater athleticism to his midfield following Mark Duffy's loan move to Stoke City, has been partly responsible for Lundstram's renaissance.
Confirming United will continue to keep a tight rein on finances despite acknowledging the need to fend-off interest in their most talented players, Wilder said: "There's a number of players we are looking at, at improving their contracts. There will be a ceiling. We see the figures in the PL. A few weeks ago, a player who didn't get into Arsenal's 18 was earning more than my entire squad.
"But of course we want to build from this group and John is part of that," Wilder added. "We're looking at January, because it's important the club doesn't stand still, and we want to invest then to give ourselves the best opportunity to progress. We can't stand still."