Sheffield United star hopes club can activate extension clause in his soon-to-expire contract
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Under the terms of the transfer embargo imposed on them by the EFL, United were not only prohibited from unveiling any new signings during the January window but also barred from extending the agreements of players such as Oli McBurnie, Billy Sharp, Wes Foderingham and Oliver Norwood who could become free agents later this year.
Fleck is also among those facing an uncertain future in South Yorkshire, where he has twice won promotion since arriving from Coventry City in 2016.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Championship encounter at Reading, where Heckingbottom’s second placed side hope to open up a seven point lead over Middlesbrough in third, Fleck told The Star: “Yes, the club has an option. It’s on their part, not mine. They are the ones who can activate it, not me.”
“I’d love to stay but, to be honest, right now that (the contract) isn’t at the front of my mind,” he added. “There’s more important things to focus on.”
Fleck, aged 31, was referring to United’s trip to the Select Car Leasing Stadium - their game in hand over Michael Carrick’s team. Heckingbottom’s men were beaten 1-0 by fellow high-flyers Blackburn Rovers last weekend but remain in pole position to join runaway leaders Burnley in the Premier League next term.
With Dozy Mmobuosi’s proposed takeover also complicating United’s off-the-pitch situation, Fleck accepts he could be forced to wait until the closing stages of the campaign before learning if he will be able to prolong his stay at Bramall Lane. A Nigerian based businessman and founder of agri-fintech firm Tingo, Mmobuosi is thought to have agreed a price for United with current owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and is now hoping to get the green light from the EFL enabling him to complete the purchase.
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“The takeover and all of that stuff is going on and I should think all of that, including which division we are going to be in, needs to get sorted out first as well as some other stuff,” Fleck added. “Like I say, I’m thinking about something more important right now.”
Enda Stevens, who stepped-up his training regime yesterday, has also entered the final few months of his contract while Daniel Jebbison, Jack O’Connell, Ismaila Coulibaly and Ben Osborn are in the same position. Despite
“It’s been a great time for me here, with the success we’ve had, but also for other reasons too,” Fleck said. “When you’ve been here for as long as I have, you make friends. Your family makes friends and your kids grow up here. The longer you stay somewhere, the more attached you become.”
“That’s definitely the case for me,” Fleck added. “It becomes a part of you, who you are. I couldn’t have hoped for more when I first came here.”