Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder explains why this is the toughest transfer window ever

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has described this summer’s transfer market as “the most difficult” he has ever experienced during 18 years in management as he rushes to complete his recruitment drive before the window closes on Monday.

Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 5:00 pm

Already handicapped by a budget which, despite the efforts of United’s owners is dwarfed by those enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of other top-flight clubs, Wilder has also seen efforts to strengthen his squad affected by the Covid-19 pandemic - which us estimated to have cost the game around £10b worldwide so far this year.

Even greater pressure was placed upon United’s finances over the weekend, when Wilder confirmed he must sign a replacement for defender Jack O’Connell, who could miss the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of his knee injury. United are already searching for a new centre-forward after failing to score a goal in their first three outings of the new PL season - with Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster their number one target.

“We have to work harder, harder than possibly anyone in the division,” Wilder said. “We’ve got to be cute and smart and work in a different way because we can’t compete (financially) with others in the division.

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“I honestly think this is the hardest window that I’ve ever experienced. It’s not just fees, it’s wages as well and when you look at some that are being handed out across the division, for lads from the Championship, you can see how difficult it is.

“But we’re not afraid of hard work. This is the situation we’re in and it’s the division we wanted to be in, that we worked so hard to get in, so we just get on with it. The same as we always do.”

United travel to Arsenal this weekend hoping to open their account for the campaign following defeats by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Leeds - although Wilder is convinced that, with a little more firepower and the rub of the green in terms of refereeing decisions, his team would have been off the mark already.

“There’s nothing majorly wrong, I don’t believe,” he said. “We just need to tighten up on a few things and all of those results could easily have been different.”

Jack Robinson has been drafted in to replace Jack O'Connell in Sheffield United's defence: Molly Darlington - Pool/Getty Images

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