Working in tandem with Bramall Lane’s recruitment department, the 44-year-old compiled two sets of names ahead of last week’s play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest - one outlining potential reinforcements for Premier League football and the other if United remained in the second tier.
After bowing out of the end of term knockouts on penalties, that has now been handed to members of United’s hierarchy as Heckingbottom looks to press ahead with a rebuilding process he hopes will deliver a return to the top-flight in 12 months time.
“We’ve got people in mind,” Heckingbottom said. “There’s options out there we are exploring and have been for some time now.”
With David McGoldrick and Lys Mousset both being informed their contracts are not being renewed and Filip Uremovic’s future in South Yorkshire unclear, a striker and a centre-half are two of Heckingbottom’s priority positions although he will also attempt to bolster United’s midfield.
Chelsea’s Jake Clarke-Salter has been mentioned in dispatches, with the former Coventry City loanee expected to leave Stamford Bridge over the summer. But Leeds are thought to be interested and with United’s neighbours retaining their PL status over the weekend, would be able to offer the defender a much more lucrative financial package.
“We have a few people for every area we’re looking at,” said Heckingbottom, who has identified “six or seven” issues within his squad which need to be addressed. “We don’t go all in on one. That’s not the way it works."