Sheffield United issued with an important warning about star duo ahead of transfer window

Despite accepting and indeed sympathising with the situations they sometimes find themselves in, manager Paul Heckingbottom will remind Sheffield United’s hierarchy that they could not afford to buy players of the calibre of Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge on the open market, as Bramall Lane’s coaching staff braces itself to receive hostile approaches for the duo this summer.
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Speaking as he prepared to begin the process of reprofiling his squad following its promotion from the Championship, Heckingbottom’s admission that he is expecting an “anxious” transfer window was interpreted as a warning that some of United’s leading names could attract interest from established top-flight teams both at home and abroad despite their return to the Premier League.

Although Heckingbottom is known to have been frustrated by a number of goings-on behind the scenes at United last term, including the fact they were prohibited from making new signings in January after defaulting on payments relating to previous deals, the 43-year-old has also made it clear he understands the board of directors’ predicament as they attempt to keep a grip on the club’s finances.

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But with Ndiaye and Berge, Senegal and Norway internationals respectively, understood to have been monitored by the likes of Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle and Liverpool, Heckingbottom is also under no illusions that United could be weaker if either is allowed to move on before their contracts expire in 13 months time.

“We’ve got players here, in the building, who we couldn’t afford if we were looking to bring them in now,” he told journalists ahead of Monday’s visit to Birmingham City, where United completed their latest campaign with a 2-1 victory. “But I’m aware of the fact it’s not my money.”

Ndiaye, who scored 15 goals last term and represented his country at the World Cup in Qatar, and Berge were linked with moves away from South Yorkshire soon after Christmas. Heckingbottom successfully petitioned his employers to retain their services as United homed in on a second placed finish and also reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. But admirers of the pair are likely to be encouraged by the fact that neither seems close to extending their agreements with United, as their advisors assess options which could shortly reveal themselves elsewhere.