Sheffield United owner’s wages pledge revisited amid intriguing Divock Origi transfer links

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Blades subject of intriguing Origi transfer link

Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah has claimed that boss Paul Heckingbottom has been given the go-ahead to bring in a loan player earning £100,000 this summer, amid intriguing transfer links with former Liverpool man Divock Origi.

Transfer guru Alan Nixon reported over the weekend that United are eyeing a shock move for the striker, now in Italy with AC Milan, and that Heckingbottom hopes to persuade him to help bolster United’s firepower and their survival bid.

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Origi has already been linked with United’s Premier League rivals West Ham this summer and certainly has Premier League pedigree, having scored 22 goals for Liverpool in 34 league starts – with 73 appearances off the bench – and helped them to Champions League glory in 2018/19, when he scored twice in a remarkable comeback win over Barcelona and then added a goal in the final against Tottenham Hotspur.

United are keen on a permanent move for Aston Villa striker Cameron Archer but could consider a high-profile loan elsewhere if their transfer window frustrations continue. Speaking to fan podcast Sheff United Way recently, Prince Abdullah suggested that Heckingbottom would be allowed to break the club’s wage structure for the right sort of player as they look to replace talisman Iliman Ndiaye.

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Speaking about the extent of United’s transfer budget, the Prince said: “I don’t think it’s good for the club to do that and it’s not only the transfer fee for the club. The agent will take some money and there’s the salaries. Maybe you bring a player for £20,000 or £25,000 or £30,000, or you can bring a player for £50,000 or £60,000.

“So it’s very difficult and complicated. We’re very flexible with that, we’re not going to tell Paul: ‘This is the money you have and you only have to spend it in transfer fees’. If he wants to bring a player for £100,000 a week salary, but he thinks that he makes a difference, he can do that. I really think that we have to be flexible and we cannot disclose everything because once you do that you put yourself in a bad negotiation place with other teams.”

Origi, still only 28, was left out of Milan’s squad for their clash with Bologna last night in a further suggestion that he may move on this summer. He would not be a cheap loan signing for the Blades, based on his salary at the Italian giants, but would offer proven Premier League experience and quality of a level that the Blades could not otherwise afford to attract on a permanent basis.

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