Sheffield United look set to take a big risk with one of their rare success stories this season
Sheffield United have no plans to bring forward a decision on Kean Bryan’s future at Bramall Lane, The Star understands, despite knowing that delaying talks could see the defender leave for nothing this summer.
Bryan has been a rare success story for the Premier League club in recent months, with Chris Wilder challenging him to earn a new contract ahead of last weekend’s defeat Southampton.
Having previously warned about the danger of allowing players to enter the closing stages of their deals, Wilder would ordinarily prefer to discuss the possibility of extending the 24-year-old’s terms before they expire at the end of the season.
But with United seemingly destined for relegation and with question marks surrounding the manager’s own future due to an apparent disagreement with the board of directors about transfer and recruitment policy, Bryan is unlikely to discover if he will be invited to remain in South Yorkshire until May at the earliest.
“From Kean’s individual point of view, he had a difficult time of it when he first came here but he’s a talented boy,” Wilder said. “He’s done well against the smartness and cuteness of some of these Premier League lads.
“There’s no downside to doing well from his point of view, whether it’s getting a contract extension here or getting one somewhere else. There’s still a lot of football to be played and I haven’t thought about next season.”
Should the schedule of their talks with Bryan change, it could provide a clue about Wilder’s own position at United given his preference for rewarding folk he envisages working with over a prolonged period of time.
Any negotiations about extending the youngster’s stay could prove complicated if United do drop back into the Championship, with those members of the first team squad whose contracts run beyond June set to see their wages cut as a result. Should he remain at the helm, Wilder’s own salary will also be reduced if United relinquish their top-flight status two years after being promoted.
Given the dearth of defenders at his disposal - together with the on-loan Ethan Ampadu, Bryan was the only fit centre-half available for selection against the visitors from St Mary’s - Wilder has been encouraged by the former Manchester City player’s progress since making his PL debut four months ago.
Bryan scored his first goal for United during January’s win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, and has attracted a numbers of admirers in the English Football League following a series of accomplished displays at the highest level.
“There will be plenty of opportunities in training and in games for Kean,” Wilder said. “He has to have it in his head every single time he sets foot on the pitch, that he can only gain from doing well.”
United edged another step closer to seeing their relegation from the top-flight mathematically confirmed when they were beaten by the visitors from St Mary’s, with a goal from their former striker Che Adams condemning them to a 2-0 loss after James Ward-Prowse’s penalty.
“It was a difficult watch second-half,” Wilder admitted. “The correct result happened.”