Sheffield United: Manager does not have an assurance he can replace Brighton and Hove Albion player

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Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has not received a cast iron assurance that he will be able to sign a replacement for Reda Khadra before the transfer window closes.

Although the 45-year-old told The Star that Bramall Lane would be the perfect destination for an attacking player attempting to enhance their career, he admitted the terms of Khadra’s loan from Brighton and Hove Albion is complicating his search.

The Germany under-21 international was recalled by the Premier League club earlier this week after failing to break into United’s starting eleven, and later joined Birmingham City until the end of the season. But with Albion agreeing to cover most of the associated costs while he remained in South Yorkshire, Heckingbottom acknowledged it could prove “almost impossible” to negotiate a similar deal elsewhere. And with takeover negotiations involving owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and an as yet unnamed investor further tightening the restraints upon United’s already parlous recruitment budget, that has created an issue for Heckingbottom and his coaching staff.

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“We’ve not had assurances, because it’s going to be (dependent) on finance,” Heckingbottom said. “That and investment coming in. I’ve not been told that it’s dependent on a takeover (going through).

“We need someone like for like. But we had such a good deal from Brighton for Reda, we are not going to get that again.”

Despite insisting he is “full focused” on preparing United for Saturday’s game against Stoke City, a match they enter ranked second in the Championship and nine points clear of third place, Heckingbottom will continue to petition his board of directors about the need to fill the void created by Khadra’s departure. United meet Hull City after facing Alex Neil’s side, who are 18th, before travelling to Wrexham in the FA Cup.

With Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster both unavailable for selection due to injury - and the latter still someway off completing his rehabilitation from hamstring surgery - Heckingbottom said: “Oli is on his way back and Rhian is doing well. But you want as much as you can, because it’s my job to protect the team.”