Sheffield United keep contract talks bubbling over during enforced break

Sheffield United remain in contact with the representatives of John Lundstram and Oliver Norwood after manager Chris Wilder confirmed both have been invited to extend their contracts at Bramall Lane, despite acknowledging that issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic will slow the progress of those talks.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 6:00 am

Although this week’s Premier League meeting - which is expected to see representatives of the country’s leading 20 teams announce the season will not resume until the end of May at the earliest - is their immediately priority, officials at Bramall Lane are also attempting to keep talks with the duo’s representatives ticking over during the enforced break in competition.

Modern technology, including video conferencing applications such as Skype and Zoom, is being used to help manager Chris Wilder stay in contact with his squad after they were ordered to vacate the Steelphalt Academy training complex earlier this month. And United’s hierarchy are employing the same techniques to ensure negotiations with Lundstram and Norwood can restart relatively quickly when the health crisis begins to ease.

With United already signalling they will trigger a clause which will keep Lundstram in South Yorkshire for at least another 12 months, suggestions that clubs could be forced to broker short-term agreements with players whose contracts expire on June 30 are not expected to complicate their dealings with the 26-year-old and his agent.

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Discussions with Norwood are at a less advanced stage, but like his fellow midfielder, the former Northern Ireland international has told Wilder that he wants to stay with United.

“It’s nice that the club want me to stay here,” Norwood said, communicating that message to the media earlier this term. "We’ll get there. It’s as simple as that.

“Why, from a personal point of view, would I want to go anywhere else? It’s a special place to be. I can’t see myself leaving and why would I want to?”

Wilder, whose squad were seventh in the table before the fixture schedule ground to a halt, has also stated that he is “100 per cent certain” defender Chris Basham will also sign a new contract when sits down for talks later this year.

Oliver Norwood says he wants to stay with Sheffield United for the rest of his career: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Bournemouth at Bramall Lane in Sheffield: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images
John Lundstram of Sheffield United celebrates after scoring: Jan Kruger/Getty Images