Sheffield United: Iliman Ndiaye next on the post-transfer deadline day agenda
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The youngster’s performances for Sheffield United had already been noted by scouts tasked with hoovering up talent for teams at the highest level. But Aliou Cisse’s decision to offer him a chance at international level - only five months before the reigning African champions take part in the World Cup - confirmed his status as a genuine talent. Someone top-flight head coaches would feel more confident taking a punt on, hence Paul Heckingbottom’s desire to see United award the 22-year-old a new contract.
“There’s a few in that bracket and he’s definitely one of them,” the United manager confirmed, referring to Ndiaye. “We have a clear way of playing and Iliman, with the threat he brings and ability in possession, clearly fits into that. I’ve mentioned it to the club. But now is not the time.”
With the transfer window now closed, Heckingbottom hopes United’s hierarchy now focus their attention on ensuring Ndiaye’s recent progress is rewarded. Tellingly, before the drama of transfer deadline day, he warned business decisions must be balanced against the effect departures can have upon sporting performance. Particularly given that United are preparing for Sunday’s visit to Hull City ranked first in the Championship.
Frozen out of the first team picture after rejecting the terms of the deal United tabled with his representative during their relegation back to the second tier, Ndiaye, who had been angling for a package which reflected his talent rather than an escape route, subsequently agreed fresh terms having been parachuted back into the squad by Heckingbottom’s predecessor Slavisa Jokanovic. Sources close to Bramall Lane last night suggested the attacker’s advisors are also applying subtle pressure on the club to return to the negotiating table.
“There needs to be clarity about where we are going forward financially,” said Heckingbottom. “I understand that totally. I think there is, and we also need the same as to where we’re going on the pitch, which I think there has been too.”