Sheffield United make a key pledge over pay structure

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Sheffield United will refuse to break their pay structure in order to conclude contract negotiations with more of their influential players, despite acknowledging the financial landscape of English football has changed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

After awarding captain Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick and Oliver Norwood new deals before the end of last season, United continued the process of protecting their most prized assets when it was announced Chris Basham had also put pen to paper on fresh terms.

Discussions with John Lundstram’s agent are continuing discreetly behind the scenes but, nearly a year after first being invited to commit his client to the club, the midfielder’s representative has yet to accept United’s offer.

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Chris Wilder, who also hopes to persuade John Egan to extend his stay at United in the near future, has instructed Bramall Lane’s board of directors not to increase their latest recent offer - choosing to trigger a clause, tying Lundstram to Bramall Lane for another 12 months instead. Given the pressure on their budget created by the global health crisis - which forced competition to be temporarily suspended earlier this year - Wilder believes it would set a dangerous precedent to redraft the proposal Lundstram is understood to have received just before Christmas.

Although it has not clouded his personal relationship with the player, Wilder made no secret of his frustration with the situation before guiding United to a ninth placed finish in the Premier League only a season after being promoted from the Championship.

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