Sheffield United Transfers: What Chris Basham has said about his Blades future after link with Chris Wilder and Middlesbrough
After the dust settled on his appointment at Middlesbrough, his first job since leaving Sheffield United earlier this year, it was somewhat inevitable that talk would turn towards which Blades players Chris Wilder would try and take with him to the north-east.
Boro’s squad is packed with quality, a fact their new manager alluded to earlier this month when he was unveiled as Neil Warnock’s successor. But every manager needs players he knows and trusts – resulting in media speculation this week that Wilder may make approaches for two current Blades in the January transfer window.
The departure of one of the reported targets, Oliver Burke, would probably not cause too much upset on the Bramall Lane terraces, with the former RB Leipzig and West Brom forward failing to show the form that persuaded both clubs to part with big money to sign him.
But the other, veteran Chris Basham, would be a different story entirely. A fan favourite at Bramall Lane, most fans would have Basham as one of the first names on the teamsheet at United – even at 33 – but he has been the highest-profile casualty of Slavisa Jokanović’s decision to abandon the 3-5-2 system that brought the Blades so much success, after succeeding Wilder earlier this summer.
Basham has stepped in for United’s last two games after an injury to Ben Davies created an opening, but the Liverpool loanee is expected to return to the Blades’ starting XI when he recovers from his complaint and unless Jokanović reassesses his approach and returns to a back three, that would likely leave club legend Basham as the odd man out.
A move to Boro would surely have its attractions. Basham is from the north-east, so would be moving closer to home, and was close to Wilder during their time together at Bramall Lane – when the duo helped take United from the League One relegation zone to ninth in the Premier League.
To complicate matters further, Basham’s contract expires at the end of the season and although the Blades have an option in their favour to extend it, the man himself admitted recently that he will reassess his future in January if more first-team opportunities are not forthcoming.
What has Chris Basham said about his Sheffield United future?
“As a footballer at 33 I want to be playing every week, and I believe I can do that for Sheffield United,” he admitted last month.
“I have a lot of experience here of the ups and downs and I’m desperate for the ups to come back. You always want to play games. I’ve just got to keep believing and stay ready when I’m called upon.”
Basham’s contract will automatically renew if he plays a certain number of games this season.
“If those don’t happen it’s up to the club if they want to carry forward or if they want to see the end of me,” he added.
“If I’m not playing then I can't see the club wanting me. It’s down to the club and the manager so, depending on what happens, I’ll sit down and talk about it with my agent and whoever looks after me in January and February.”