Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder's makes a prediction ahead of the transfer window
Sheffield United do not fear losing their most influential players during next month’s transfer window, manager Chris Wilder has insisted, despite acknowledging almost every other club in the Premier League could offer them more lucrative contracts.
Speaking ahead of Boxing Day’s game against Watford, which is set to attract a sell-out crowd to Bramall Lane, Wilder confirmed United’s board of directors have approved his plans to offer John Lundstram a new deal, with John Egan and Enda Stevens expected to follow suit.
Having climbed to fifth in the table following last weekend’s win over Brighton and Hove Albion, the 52-year-old admitted the ease with which many members of his squad have adapted to life at the highest level since gaining promotion last season could see them attract admiring glances from elsewhere.
But, providing an insight into the camaraderie within United’s dressing room, Wilder said: “I always think it’s more (than money).
“If there’s an opportunity to move, lots of things have to happen for a deal to come off.
“But I’m sure the players are happy to be here. You can see that at the end of games.
“I’d never want to keep an unhappy player here and, if there was, then we’d look to protect the football club.
“But I don’t see that any of them are.”
Although United are expected to sanction the departure of some players when the PL and English Football League re-opens for business - defender Kean Bryan is among those being lined-up for loans elsewhere - Wilder hopes to bolster the options at his disposal by making additions in defence and midfield.
Having spent more than a decade in the EFL before finishing second in the Championship eight months ago, United could look abroad in an effort to overcome the financial challenges newly promoted clubs face when preparing their recruitment drives.
Watford, who travel to South Yorkshire in 20th place, lavished £30m on Ismaila Sarr at the beginning of the campaign.
The fee, more than United lavished on Lys Mousset, Callum Robinson and Luke Freeman combined, was made possible by the fact they are now in their fifth consecutive season at the PL club.
“No, I’m not worried about people looking at our players,” Wilder said. “It’s part and parcel of the division, it’s something you have to handle.
“They are all under contract. I’ve had support from the board, in terms of negotiating contracts that need re-negotiating.
“I want to drive the club forward and I want to make that next step. They know that.”