Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah reveals one key condition he will place on the club's next manager

Contenders for the vacant manager’s position at Sheffield United will be asked to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of overseas transfer markets, or at least a readiness to take advice on potential transfer targets, before being included on the short-list of names vying to replace Chris Wilder.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 6:36 am

HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud cited what he perceived as Wilder’s refusal to consider signing anyone not identified by his own scouting team as one of the factors behind the 53-year-old’s departure earlier this month, during an interview with a Premier League rights-holder.

Prince Abdullah, United’s owner, also claimed Wilder had asked for £4m to resign just after Christmas before eventually parting company with the club a fortnight ago. With a non-disclosure agreement understood to have been inserted into his severance package, the former Oxford and Northampton Town chief, who twice delivered promotion during nearly five seasons in charge, refused to respond to Prince Abdullah’s comments.

Although the Saudi Arabian suggested United are in no hurry to make a quick appointment after placing Paul Heckingbottom Bramall Lane’s under-23’s coach, in temporary charge, his take on the events which led up to Wilder’s exit shed light on some of the qualities the next man at the helm will be expected to possess.

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H.R.H Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has given his version of the events which led to Chris Wilder's departure: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

They include, given Prince Abdullah’s implied and explicit criticism of Wilder’s recruitment policy, which focused largely on acquiring players already in the English game, a desire to adopt a global outlook and also work within a structure designed by United’s hierarchy as they prepare for relegation back to the Championship following two years at the highest level.

Referencing his “35 years” of involvement in sport, Prince Abdullah said: “I also learn that (it’s) always better that the recruitment should be a club owned process, it shouldn’t be left to the coaches.

“Coaches come and do and then if it’s not a club owned policy, as I say it will lead to more changes.

“Coaches (are) usually under pressure to perform now where usually the club think long term.”

Manager Chris Wilder and H.R.H Prince Abdullah bin Mosa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Sa'ud during happier times: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Wilder, a lifelong United supporter, inherited a squad which had just finished mid-table in League One when he was appointed in 2016.

Insisting he recognised the status Wilder’s success at the helm brough, Prince Abdullah added: “Having said that, because of the special situation and the results that Chris delivered for the club the first four years before we were promoted (to the Premier League), I knew that we would make an exception and go with Chris, to jump in with Chris and not go with what I believe, what I have learnt in 35 years in football.”

Slavisa Jokanovic, previously of Watford and Fulham, is the preferred option among many fans to succeed Wilder. However the Serb, who is currently working in Qatar, has not been contacted by United or asked his advisors to open back channel lines of communication with United’s hierarchy.

Insisting he offered Wilder a share in the umbrella organisation United World during a meeting in Dubai last year, on the proviso he stayed in charge for five years, Prince Abdullah confirmed he has no plans to install a director of football to oversee the process.

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