Sheffield United: Ownership verdict could now be delivered next month, senior figures at Bramall Lane believe
Senior figures at Sheffield United suspect a ruling, which will decide who controls the Premier League club, could now be issued early next month rather than before the end of the transfer window.
Mr Justice Fancourt, who earlier this summer presided over a High Court hearing designed to settle the disagreement between Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, pledged to try and reach a decision before Thursday's deadline when he retired to consider evidence nearly six weeks ago.
Although none of the parties involved are able to provide an exact timescale – and the schedule might well change – there is now a belief the judge will deliver his verdict in September.
Despite fears the dispute between McCabe and Prince Abdullah would wreck United's planning for season after Chris Wilder led them to promotion last term, a flurry of new faces have arrived in South Yorkshire ahead of August 10th's curtain-raiser at AFC Bournemouth. They include Phil Jagielka, Callum Robinson and Luke Freeman, with Oli McBurnie set to be confirmed as the most expensive player in Bramall Lane's 130 year history shortly. The centre-forward, who represents Scotland at international level, will reportedly command a fee of around £17m when he leaves Swansea City while a further £3m could be payable in performance-related clauses
McCabe and Prince Abdullah, who both control 50 per cent stakes in United's parent company, launched rival takeover bids last year after their business relationship became strained. Although the situation is known to have caused frustration behind the scenes, Wilder also recently agreed a new long-term contract during a recent training camp in Portugal.
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United play the final friendly of their warm-up schedule in France tomorrow, when they face Ligue 1 outfit Stade de Reims. (Kick-off 5.30pm CET).
Meanwhile, Arsenal's visit to United later this year has been moved for television purposes. The fixture, which had been set for Saturday 19 October, will now take place 48 hours later. United's home games against Crystal Palace and Liverpool have also been selected for live broadcast.