Sheffield United: Tentative transfer planning has taken place

Sheffield United exceeded all expectations last season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United exceeded all expectations last season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

With the transfer window set to open in only nine days time, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder is continuing to hold talks about potential new signings despite the on-going uncertainty surrounding his future at Bramall Lane.

Although he has complained a dispute between the club’s co-owners means it is almost impossible to make concrete plans, Wilder has told The Star that both he and his assistant Alan Knill have compiled a list of targets following talks with head of recruitment Paul Mitchell.

Clayton Donaldson is out of contract: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Clayton Donaldson is out of contract: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“One hundred per cent I have ideas on what we want,” Wilder said. “We look at the stats on how we play and where we need to improve. We know those areas.”

“We look at everything,” he added. “We look at clean sheets, injuries, preparation, results after international breaks and everything. Even what goes in the fridge in the manager’s office. Joking aside, there’s a lot of detail we go into and then we take things from there.”

Speaking before United’s final match of the Championship season, Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Bristol City, Wilder refused to confirm if a list of possible acquisitions had either been presented to or approved by his board of directors.

HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe, who are both battling for sole control of United, have faced calls to broker a temporary truce following Wilder’s admission a lack of clarity, direction and harmony could force him to consider his position.

Paul Coutts will return next season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Paul Coutts will return next season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Although the nature of their dispute could make that unlikely, officials are set to publish Wilder’s retained and released list shortly, the 50-year-old does have some room for manoeuvre at least.

“We look at how many goals we’ve scored,” he said. “Do we need more? What type do we need more of? We also look at goals from set plays and if we’ve signed too many players at any one time. Everything like that.”

With Paul Coutts (right) set to return from injury in time for pre-season, United are expected to focus on strengthening their defensive and attacking options ahead of the 2018/19 campaign. Presuming, of course, Wilder remains at the helm. With James Wilson’s loan from Manchester United unlikely to be renewed and Clayton Donaldson’s (left) contract about to expire, at least one new centre-forward is likely to arrive before the opening day of next season. Reinforcements at centre-half are also anticipated.

“We’ve had some chats with people,” Wilder said. “Not (the players) themselves but with people who know what situations are likely to arise, who might become available and who will be available. We’re always looking at what we need to try and drive us forward.”