Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, will refuse to abandon his pursuit of Kyle McFadzean despite being told the MK Dons defender is not heading to Bramall Lane.
McFadzean submitted a transfer request in an effort to force through the move last week after setting his heart on rejoining the League One club.
Although Karl Robinson, Wilder’s counterpart at Stadium MK, yesterday warned that bid is doomed for failure, The Star understands McFadzean still features on United’s wanted list despite talks with another centre-half reaching an advanced stage.
“I’m comfortable, possibly more comfortable than I’ve ever been as a manager, that we’ll get this right,” Wilder said. “We are okay. But we do recognise, from a recruiting point of view, that the next 10 days are really important and that we have to ramp it up. Come to conclusions on things. We’d like to think, and possibly this is putting us right under pressure, that we are looking to get two or three definitely in during that time frame.”
McFadzean, who progressed through United’s youth system before arriving in Buckinghamshire via Alfreton and Crawley Town, appears locked on a collision course with Robinson after admitting he wants to return north. Although Dons are prepared to let McFadzean depart, they would prefer him not to join a direct rival. It remains to be seen whether Robinson’s position is set in stone or simply part of the negotiation process.
“No-one is for sale to a competitor,” Robinson said. “If they don’t want to turn up and get fined, then fine. It’s not got to that with Kyle yet. But if someone doesn’t want to be here, then their agent needs to do some work, and there needs to be a price on his head to allow this team to improve. If the players don’t want to be here, the price has to be right.”
Wilder released 10 players and transfer-listed another seven after taking charge of United last month. Dean Hammond, Martyn Woolford and Paul Coutts are among those declared surplus requirements while Diego De Girolamo terminated saw his contract terminated on Friday.
“The outs are just as important as the ins,” Wilder said. “Especially at this stage. The players were are in for are good players and so they have other options. It’s not just a case that, if we come calling, they are coming to us immediately. We are dealing with clubs, players and with agents. There are transfer fees involved in some and, of course, clubs want the right price for their players.”
“People will recognise we’ve also had to work on getting players who won’t be playing a part next season out too,” Wilder, who has also held talks with a striker and midfielder, added. “We are pretty close on getting two or three of those tied up whether it be loans or ending contracts. All different parts of the club we are trying to affect. The biggest things is the ins and the outs which we are down the line with.”
Wilder began overhauling a team which finished 11th in the table under his predecessor Nigel Adkins when Chris Hussey and Mark Duffy were unveiled last month. Some supporters have expressed concerns about the pace of his rebuilding exercise but Wilder said: “I don’t mind being asked. I understand people want to know and are a bit impatient but there’s a hell of a lot of work going on. We are pretty close on a couple.”