Sheffield United will offer four members of their League One title winning squad new contracts in an attempt to keep them at Bramall Lane until 2019, The Star can reveal.
Manager Chris Wilder approached Paul Coutts, Chris Basham, Kieron Freeman and captain Billy Sharp about the possibility of remaining in South Yorkshire beyond the end of the forthcoming Championship season after being impressed by their performances last term.
Wilder, who recently triggered clauses in the quartet’s existing deals which tied them to United for another 12 months, said: “Regarding Coutts, Billy, Basham, Kieron Freeman, they were the ones with the options. We took those options up and within the next six weeks or so, we’ll be offering them new deals.
“It’s a medium term priority because they are with us for next season. But we’ll be offering them two year deals with, in the second, a clause they can activate if they play so many games. Like happened last year.”
Wilder began the process of strengthening the options at his disposal when Ched Evans rejoined United from Chesterfield two weeks ago before Nathan Thomas, previously of Hartlepool, arrived earlier this week.
But, confirming the likes of Basham and Sharp remain integral to his plans, Wilder added: “ I’ve spoken to those players and that’s what we’ll be looking to do. They’re definitely here for next year and, hopefully if they sign their contracts, then they’ll be here for the next two as well.”