Sheffield United takeover: Key decision taken amid ownership uncertainty

Sheffield United are pressing ahead with the spending plan they devised in case Henry Mauriss’ proposed takeover of the club fails to receive the greenlight from the English Football League in order to prevent causing too much disruption to Paul Heckingbottom’s restructuring project.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 3:00 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 3:44 pm

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The American businessman’s £115m offer to purchase the Championship club is still being scrutinised by the English Football League, despite seeing the period of exclusivity he was granted by Bramall Lane’s board of directors recently expire.

But with the transfer window now open, United’s owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has told Heckingbottom and his coaching staff to press ahead with their recruitment efforts and adhere to the budget they were given should Mauriss either withdraw his bid or be rebutted by the EFL.

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Sheffield United CEO Stephen Bettis, Paul Heckingbottom, Chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa and Director Abdullah bin Yousef Alghamdi with Paul Heckingbottom: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Although that decision should not be interpreted as a sign they expect it to fail, it does represent an acknowledgement that time is of the essence with the United manager identifying “six or seven” vacancies which need to be filled before competition resumes next month.

Significantly, with Mauriss confirming he has no interest in purchasing other members of the United World network Prince Abdullah established to oversee his portfolio of sporting investments, UW’s chief executive Abdullah Alghamdi felt comfortable enough to outline United’s place within it during a briefing with The Star last week.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Darren Staples / Sportimage

Whilst it is impossible to predict when the EFL could deliver its verdict on Mauriss, Alghamdi’s actions suggest Prince Abdullah and his associates do not believe one is imminent.

United’s players began their preparations for the new campaign at the Randox Health Academy this week, undergoing a series of fitness and conditioning tests which will be used to track their progress during next month’s training camp in Portugal.

Heckingbottom has been linked with a number of names since watching his side beaten on penalties in the play-off semi-finals, including centre-halves Dion Sanderson and Charlie Cresswell of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds respectively.

With David McGoldrick and former loanee Morgan Gibbs-White also departing, attacking and midfield reinforcements are also expected to arrive as part of a reprofiling exercise.