Sheffield United: More firepower required

HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad
HRH Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad
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Sheffield United have compiled a list of potential targets as manager David Weir prepares to enter the emergency loan market, writes James Shield.

The League One club, who last week unveiled Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad as their new co-owner, will attempt to bolster its attacking options ahead of this weekend’s visit to Carlisle after the Saudi Arabian, a member of his country’s royal family, confirmed funds would be made available for a new centre-forward.

Although United must comply with financial legislation which prohibit them from spending more than 60 per cent of their turnover on wages, Prince Abdullah acknowledged administrators have identified ways of abiding by Salary Cost Management Protocol whilst still maximising his multi-million pound investment in first team affairs.

“I don’t think transfer fees are part of that,” he said. “It’s only wages. Nor signing bonuses. I’m getting educated about it but there are ways to improve the team – otherwise it would not have made any sense to invest.”

Having pledged to create a ‘no excuses’ culture at Bramall Lane, Weir understandably bridled at suggestions that Prince Abdullah’s wealth represented a quick fix to United’s problems in front of goal following last weekend’s defeat at Rotherham United.

Nevertheless, having seen his team hit the target only once in three games, the former Scotland international is expected to accelerate his efforts to recruit a striker, albeit on a temporary basis, before resurrecting United’s interest in Coventry City’s Leon Clarke next year.

Weir, who is understood to have been presented with a list of possible options immediately after Saturday’s visit to New York Stadium, saw a bid for Clarke thwarted by red tape earlier this month after City placed a £1.2m price tag on his team mate Callum Wilson.

United explored several alternatives before last week’s deadline for permanent signings, including Blackpool’s Nathan Tyson, but, according to one source, opted to bide their time “in favour of getting the right man” rather than make a snap decision they would later live to regret.

Lyle Taylor and Harry Bunn, acquired on a short-term youth loan, showed signs of developing a solid partnership against Steve Evans’ side but United’s failure to exploit Rotherham’s scratch pairing at centre-half underlined the need for an injection of experience.

Prince Abdullah, revealing his vested interest in ensuring results improve, warned supporters not to expect a repeat of the profligate spending sanctioned by foreign owners at some of Europe’s leading clubs.

“Manchester City and Paris St Germain are different examples because they are clubs backed by governments,” he said. “And I am sure they have their own goals, which may not be to turn a profit but, perhaps, maybe to bring good public relations to their countries.

“If they succeed then God bless them. But I am an investor and I don’t have money just to throw at things like that.

“I will not make any money unless the team gets promoted. I don’t get my money from an oil well and everything I have I have had to work for but the funds I have put in will be there.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1