Sheffield United boss reveals new priority

Sheffield United will focus their efforts on agreeing new contracts with four members of Chris Wilder’s first team squad as the Premier League club looks to build upon its amazing start to the season.

Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 5:21 pm
Enda Stevens and John Fleck (R) help Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United with cramp during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United, sixth in the table after securing promotion from the Championship last term, confirmed John Lundstram, Enda Stevens and John Egan would be offered the chance to extend their stays at Bramall Lane before last month’s transfer window, while John Fleck was invited to open talks before the end of the campaign.

After welcoming five players to Bramall Lane during last month’s transfer window, including record signing Sander Berge, Wilder now plans to resume negotiations with the quartet and their representatives after discussions were placed on hold to enable United to concentrate on bolstering the options at his disposal.

“Now we've got an unbelievably hectic January week out of the way – it's amazing how it all gets crammed into the last three or four days – all our focus is on the training ground, academy and rewarding the players for their performances in the first part of the first Premier League campaign,” Wilder said.

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United return to action following the mid-season winter break this weekend, when Brighton and Hove Albion visit South Yorkshire. Now back in England, they began their preparations for the meeting with Graham Potter’s side in Dubai, where Wilder held talks with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and other members of United’s hierarchy designed to devise a development strategy for the next 12 months and beyond. Although the details of their agenda remain a closely guarded secret, it would be a major surprise if the progress of talks with Lundstram, Egan, Stevens and Fleck were not raised at some stage.

Lundstram’s deal is scheduled to expire this summer, although United will activate a clause which extends that by a further 12 months. Stevens and Egan are both under contract until 2022.

Speaking earlier this season, Wilder outlined it is important players are rewarded for “good work”, saying: “It gives them encouragement and tells them that what they are achieving is being recognised. It’s something I’ve always liked to do, all the way through my career where possible.”

Enda Stevens of Sheffield United and the Republic of Ireland: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Phil Jagielka (C)) celebrates with George Baldock and John Egan (R) of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
John Lundstram of Sheffield United celebrates: Simon Bellis/Sportimage