Sheffield United boss likens himself to Arthur Daley as he hails 'our best ever transfer window'
Chris Wilder believes Sheffield United are destined for their “best” transfer window since he took charge of the football club, as officials at Bramall Lane look to finalise this summer’s recruitment drive by striking a deal for Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster.
And, speaking after welcoming six new players to South Yorkshire, including Aaron Ramsdale, Ethan Ampadu and Oliver Burke, Wilder likened himself to Arthur Daley, after making the most of a budget which, despite being generous by United’s standards, still pales into insignificance compared to others across the Premier League.
“I would regard this as one of our best, if not the best, window we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Wilder, who was appointed in 2016, said. “We wanted to affect all areas of the pitch, particularly both boxes, and we’ve improved competition throughout the squad.
“Our window, from a personal point of view, is as good as it could get with the money we’ve spent.”
Ramsdale, the England under-21 goalkeeper, cost an initial £10.5m when he returned to United following a three year spell with AFC Bournemouth earlier this summer. With Wes Foderingham arriving on a free and United paying under £7m up front to acquire Derby County duo Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe, Ampadu has been captured on loan from Chelsea while United received around £3m and Burke, the Scotland attacker, following Callum Robinson’s move to West Bromwich Albion. Luke Freeman joined Nottingham Forest on loan during United’s recent training camp north of the border.
Brewster, aged 20, appears to be the final piece in a complex jigsaw puzzle Wilder thinks can enable United, who were languishing in the third tier when he was first unveiled, to build upon the progress they made last term. Despite losing momentum when the fixture calendar was suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they challenged for a place in Europe before eventually finishing ninth only a season after being promoted from the Championship.
“I think, without being disrespectful to teams, if you have the money, it’s quite easy to see who is the best centre-half in the world, or who is in the top three, and then go out there and get one,” Wilder, whose side open the new campaign with a home match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, said. “Then, it’s job done. It’s a lot harder if you don’t have those resources and have to go a little left field.
“In terms of identifying players, character is important and where they fit int the team. We’ve never gone with a blanket bomb approach, we can’t, because we can’t afford many mistakes and I don’t think we’ve made many.
“I’m proud of our recruitment and the work that goes into it. I get the player and convince them that Sheffield United is the best place for them to play their football.
“I’ve got a bit of the old Arthur Daley in me as well, a bit of the old car salesman, to try and get them over the line and sign for us.”