Sheffield United could face a race against time in the transfer market if they miss out on Man Utd's Dean Henderson
Sheffield United could be forced to wait until August before learning if Dean Henderson can return to Bramall Lane next term, as talks about the goalkeeper’s future continue behind the scenes.
On-loan from Manchester United, Henderson’s agreement with Chris Wilder’s side is poised to be extended to cover the remainder of a season which has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wilder has already approached Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his counterpart at Old Trafford, about the possibility of re-signing the 23-year-old for the 2020/21 campaign.
But with that expected to start only a matter of weeks after the present fixture schedule is completed, negotiators acting on United’s behalf are likely to seek some sort of unofficial guidance about the Norwegian’s intentions despite the delicate nature of the discussions.
Speaking earlier this year, Wilder warned he would not be “providing a running commentary” on the progress of those talks because of his “respect” for Solskjaer. But the fast-turnaround - Jurgen Klopp last night admitted that Liverpool’s preparations for this month’s round of fixtures will form the basis of their pre-season preparations too - threatens to leave United in a difficult position.
Although he is keen not to harass Solskjaer, Wilder is also anxious to give himself enough time to recruit a replacement should the Norwegian summon Henderson back to the North-West.
The situation has been further complicated by confusion surrounding when the summer transfer window might close, as the game’s administrators attempt to limit the chaos created by the global health crisis.
Trabzonspor’s Uğurcan Çakır, whose advisors had been touting the Turkey international as a potential target for United, would now reportedly prefer a move to Spain rather than England as every aspect of his professional life continues to find its way into the media. Çakır’s compatriot Altay Biyindir has also been linked with United but sources at Fenerbahce last week told The Star they were unaware of any approach for the youngster at this stage.
Henderson, regarded by many as a future England number one, has been one of United’s key performers since initially moving to South Yorkshire two years ago; helping them win promotion from the Championship and reach seventh in the Premier League table before sport entered lockdown in March.
United will climb to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea with nine matches remaining if they beat Aston Villa on June 17 - set to be their first outing for nearly 15 weeks.
Barring an injuries sustained in training or positive coronavirus tests - the PL has introduced a bi-weekly screening programme as part of its ‘Project Restart’ guidelines - Wilder expects to have a full strength squad at his disposal for the trip to Villa Park. Enda Stevens had been receiving treatment for a muscle problem when the calendar was suspended three months ago. But the Republic of Ireland defender has been taking part in contact training sessions with the rest of his team mates at the Steelphalt Academy this week.