Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, is monitoring several youngsters at Premier League clubs ahead of potential loan moves to Bramall Lane.
Wilder made the admission after acknowledging his squad would benefit from further reinforcements before the transfer window closes later this month.
Jamal Blackman, a 23-year-old goalkeeper from Chelsea, recently agreed a season-long move to United and, admitting that could provide the template for further deals, Wilder said:
“We’ve identified a couple of younger players we think we might have an opportunity to get in. But sometimes they go away with the first team or sign a new contract. Then that can change all of the work you’ve done.
“They take the lads away and chuck them in. Then, when it comes to the hurly burly of the Premier League, they want something different. That’s when we look to try and step things up.”
United, who were beaten by Middlesbrough at the weekend, signed forward Harry Chapman on loan from the Teesside club last term. Although other positions, including defence and midfield are now a priority, Wilder believes Middlesbrough’s decision to place Chapman with United confirms they are an attractive destination.
“We had a lot to offer last year,” Wilder, whose side won the League One title, said. “I think we can offer a lot more now, not least the fact we are in the Championship.
“The standard is there and, if these lads have ambitions of playing in the Premier League, they are going to have to be able to perform in front of big crowds. That’s what they’ll get here. It’s a good education for them, both parties can benefit, and I think that’s recognised.”
“You saw a few people do that last year, some really good loans, and it made a real difference to how they got on,” Wilder added. “We’re working hard behind the scenes and we’re looking to try and do something similar ourselves.
“We always try and maximise what we get and I think, if you look at our business, I think we’ve been able to do that.”