Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder makes an admission about transfers as the window prepares to reopen

Responsibility for delivering the early breakthroughs in the transfer market Chris Wilder believes Sheffield United require to stand any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League now rests with senior members of Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, the manager has confirmed.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 12:35 pm

After learning the board of directors would make funds available to complete two loan signings during the winter window, which opens this weekend, Wilder argued deals for the left-sided centre-half and midfielder he has made the club’s top priority needed to be finalised at the beginning of the month in order for his squad to reap maximum benefit.

Asked if he was hopeful of having at least one new face at his disposal before January 12th’s game against Newcastle, Wilder told The Star: “It’s not with me, it’s above me at the moment.”

United’s coaching staff, whose team heads to Crystal Palace this weekend still searching for its first win of the season, are known to have monitored both Sampdoria’s Omar Colley and Jesse Lingard of Manchester United before making what Wilder described as a series of “recommendations” to owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his inner circle earlier this month. After being publicly backed by the Saudi Arabian despite United’s disappointing start to the season, Wilder told journalists that talks with several prospective targets and their respective employers were already underway. However, speaking before Tuesday’s defeat by Burnley, he acknowledged the difficulty of doing business midway through a campaign.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

Chris Wilder has delivered his recommendations to Sheffield United's board of directors ahead of the transfer window: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

“There’s a whole host of things that need to come together,” Wilder said. “It’s not just down to what we want, unfortunately. Lots of people wonder why things don’t get done right until the end (of the window) but that’s because clubs are hanging on, waiting to see what happens or develops elsewhere.

“They don’t want to let players go and then not bring someone in themselves. A number of different things need to fall into place, even if the person in question wants to come and get it done.”

Despite being on the periphery of their first choice eleven at the beginning of the season, Colley, viewed as a potential replacement for the injured Jack O’Connell, has started Sampdoria’s last four Serie A matches. Lingard, out of favour at Old Trafford, is understood to have held preliminary discussions with United before Christmas but West Ham are also known to be interested in the England international.

United remained at the bottom of the table – 11 points from safety – when they were beaten 1-0 at Turf Moor. Injury concerns and a Covid-19 outbreak within the squad meant strikers Lys Mousset and Oliver Burke were both forced to take part in the match despite being short of fitness themselves, with Wilder also reportedly monitoring Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet. Previously of Dunfermline, Nisbet has scored 12 times in 24 appearances since arriving at Easter Road.

"If goes with the territory, when you are having a good season, that people look at your players,” Jack Ross, the Hibernian manager, said. “I’d be surprised if people weren’t looking.”

An important message: Thank you for reading this article, one of dozens we publish every single day to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative coverage of YOUR club. This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to from the football team at The Star, please consider taking out a subscription to our new discounted sports-only package. You'll find all the details at https://www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions/sports. Your support is much appreciated. Chris Holt, Football Editor