After seeing United linked with a flurry of names in recent weeks, including Hibernian defender Josh Doig, Anel Ahmedhodzic of Malmo, Derby County captain Tom Lawrence and former Crystal Palace youngster Nya Kirby, Heckingbottom admitted some of the names mentioned do feature on hit list of potential targets.
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But as he attempts to accelerate the speed with which his employers are approaching the task of overhauling the club’s first team squad - a proposal made to one target, known to have been submitted earlier this month, has yet to elicit a response - Heckingbottom said: “Sometimes, we get chucked in there to help stir up interest because I know, without naming names, we’ve never looked at or been in for a particular player.
“What happens is this. A deal is maybe stalling, people are thinking about their options. Then we get mentioned as being in for them and the whole thing gets done like that - ‘bang.’ There’s been truth to some. But most of the things I’ve been hearing, no.
“You get used to it, It happens.”
Having identified “six or seven” vacancies within his squad following last term’s defeat in the Championship play-off semi-finals, Heckingbottom has yet to make a breakthrough during the summer window. Agents cleared to act on United’s behalf held preliminary discussions with two players identified by Heckingbottom and his staff during the immediate aftermath of that contest. One of those is known to be operating overseas, while the other is set to be released unless his parent club exercises a contract option.
As The Star revealed earlier this month, Scotland is an area of particular interest for Heckingbottom following his spell in charge of Hibernian. But with Doig expected to move abroad if he leaves Easter Road, Heckingbottom’s comment that “none of those” north of the border being touted for a switch to South Yorkshire are on his hit list suggests United are not presently minded to compete with Bologna, Verona and Brentford for the full-back’s services.
Lawrence, who captained County last term, is approaching the end of his agreement at Pride Park while Ahmedhodziz has been capped by both Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina at international level.
Kirby was recently released by Palace following spells on loan at both Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers.
With his team shortly set to travel to Portugal for warm weather training and a friendly against Casa Pia before completing its preparations for the forthcoming campaign in England, Heckingbottom said: “The sooner you can get people in, the more of an advantage it gives you I think. Sometimes, though, that’s not always possible and I get that. Because you are waiting for things elsewhere to fall into place.”
"We’re working hard and there’s stuff going on, there’s things that are happening,” he added. “You know there’s going to be a few that you’re going to have to wait on. But hopefully we can get some others over (the line).”