One player linked with Sheffield United could see his exit delayed again

Chris Wilder has likened the transfer market to a jigsaw, where managers and agents move pieces around the negotiating table before sliding them neatly into place.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 4:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 5:23 pm

Sheffield United, for example, want to sign a defender. Their manager has several targets in mind.

But before the players in question can even begin considering moves to Bramall Lane, their employers must acquire a replacement. Because the consequences of weakening your squad can be absolutely disastrous. Particularly at this time of year.

Adrien Tameze’s situation at OGC Nice is a perfect example of what Wilder also describes as “the domino effect” of football’s procurement process.

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Sheffield United are plotting a course through the January transfer window: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

The 25-year-old, who has been linked with several clubs including United, had been set to leave the Allianz Riviera at the beginning of the month.

However, until their head coach Patrick Viera identifies someone capable of filling the gap Tameze’s departure would leave in their squad, the Ligue 1 outfit are unlikely to sanction his departure.

Despite operating primarily as a right-back, Chelsea’s Tariq Lamptey had been earmarked as potential solution to Viera’s problem. But the youngster has reached agreement over a new long-term contract at Stamford Bridge, diminishing Nice’s chances of securing his signature on loan and quite possibly delaying Tameze’s exit.

Earlier this term, it emerged Nice had negotiated an £8.5m fee for the former France youth international with Spartak Moscow at the beginning of the campaign only for Tameze to reject the move.

“He was due to leave, we had an agreement with him and his representatives,” Julien Fournier, Nice’s director of football, confirmed. “We took a player like (Hicham) Boudaoui and he (Temeze) decided at the final moment not to leave, which is his absolute right as he is under contract.”

Tameze, whose deal expires next summer, was a regular starter under Viera last term. But a combination of injury and Nice’s erratic form this season have seen him slip down the pecking order. Also capable of being deployed in midfield, Tameze’s value is likely to have fallen slightly since his flirtation with the Russians.

Even so, United would probably have to spend over half their January budget to acquire his services. That is something Wilder, whose counterparts at Aston Villa, Burnley and Southampton are also reportedly monitoring Tameze’s situation, would be reluctant to do.

Tameze is a member of the same talent stable as United’s Oli McBurnie and Dean Henderson, now in his second loan spell with Wilder’s squad.

United are preparing for Saturday’s visit to Arsenal ranked sixth in the Premier League table, after beating West Ham last week.