Sheffield United make an offer to exciting young midfielder Iliman Ndiaye
Sheffield United are believed to have made a contract offer to Iliman Ndiaye as they look to secure the midfielder’s long-term future at the club.
As The Star first revealed, Ndiaye’s representative has been discussing a new deal for his client ever since the 21-year-old made his Premier League debut against Leicester City seven weeks ago.
If the proposal is rejected, talks are expected to resume almost immediately as United, whose relegation from the Premier League was mathematically confirmed earlier this month, attempt to finish their internal housekeeping ahead of next season’s return to the Championship.
Despite impressing caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom with his cameo at the KP Stadium and also during training with the first team, Ndiaye has yet to feature again since United’s 5-0 defeat in the east Midlands.
But after monitoring his progress behind the scenes, Heckingbottom, who coached Bramall Lane’s under-23’s team before being handed the reins on an interim basis following Chris Wilder’s departure, expects the Frenchman to become a regular feature at senior level next term.
Although Ndiaye has more than 12 months remaining on his present agreement, United are aware that a tightening of work permit legislation post-Brexit means other top-flight clubs will look to bolster their own development squads with talent already based in England this summer.
Having arrived in South Yorkshire from non-league outfit Boreham Wood, Ndiaye is due a salary renegotiation following his recent breakthrough.
With John Lundstram set to leave after rejecting numerous invitations to extend his own contract and fellow Sander Berge attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal and this weekend’s opponents Tottenham Hotspur, United are determined not to see another attacking midfield option lured away following their demotion.
The uncertainty surrounding Berge and to a lesser extent Lundstram will serve to strengthen Ndiaye’s hand around the negotiating table. However there is no suggestion the former Marseille youth team player is unhappy at United or attempting to engineer a transfer.
United also have a decision to make regarding Steelphalt Academy graduate Regan Slater, who has spent the campaign on loan with League One promotion winners Hull City. Having made his first team debut under Wilder, Slater is set to become a free agent next month, but United have the option to automatically trigger a 12 month extension. It is a right they are expected to exercise, giving whoever replaces Wilder on a permanent basis the ability to assess his credentials.
Heckingbottom, whose biggest rival for the position is Oostende’s Alexander Blessin, has told United not to “recruit over the top” of their promising youngsters when the market reopens shortly.
“If someone comes in to make an immediate difference, great, that’s different,” he said. “What we don’t want to do though is bring someone in who is an obstacle to them coming through - an unnecessary obstacle.”
“It’s vital to have a group of young and hungry players pushing to come through,” Heckingbottom added. “One who now they have got a genuine chance of getting an opportunity if they do well. I think that’s a healthy position to be in.”