Sheffield United poised to step up their search for a new manager as vultures begin to circle

Sheffield United are poised to step-up the hunt for a new manager after discovering a number of top-flight and Championship clubs could be set to exploit the uncertainty surrounding their plans for next season by making offers to their out-of-contract players.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 6:00 am

Kean Bryan, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, has reportedly emerged as a target for Burnley and Swansea City, while Phil Jagielka and John Lundstram are also approaching the end of their present deals.

Having yet to identify a permanent replacement for Chris Wilder following his departure last month, United understand the situation places them in a potentially vulnerable situation. Although their hierarchy are known to have expressed an interest in KV Oostende head coach Alexander Blessin, while Slavisa Jokanovic remains under consideration despite not yet being approached, those tasked with leading the search have been told to continuing performing due diligence on all of the applications they have received for the vacant post.

However, United’s hierarchy are aware of the need to reach decisions on the future of several members of the squad which enters Sunday’s game against Arsenal at the bottom of the Premier League table and destined for relegation.

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Kean Bryan of Sheffield United (L) is out of contract at the end of the season: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

With that in mind, they will ask their preferred candidates to take a view on everyone currently on the first team payroll once official talks take place. By doing so, United hope to avoid a situation whereby they lose an option Wilder’s eventual successor would rather have kept.

The result of those discussions will also help shape transfer strategy during the forthcoming window, although owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jan van Winckel, his most senior footballing advisor, are set to adopt a more hands-on role when it comes to recruitment. Speaking during a recent interview, designed to tell his side of the story about Wilder’s exit, Prince Abdullah expressed frustration at the fact the 57-year-old, who led United from the third to the first tier of English football before his relationship with the board deteriorated, did not consider some of the possible signings they recommended following last term’s ninth placed finish.

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Paul Heckingbottom has been placed in temporary charge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Kean Bryan reportedly interests Swansea City and Burnley: Darren Staples/Sportimage