Sheffield United warned against making this major mistake in the Premier League transfer market
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Heckingbottom, who is preparing to publish his retained and released list ahead of the new Premier League season, recently travelled to Geneva for talks with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy as he attempts to build a squad capable of competing at the highest level.
With precious little money being placed at his disposal compared to other top-flight clubs, Heckingbottom is only expected to make a small number of permanent acquisitions as he focuses on the loan and free agent markets.
Although the 45-year-old has reminded supporters not to expect any quick breakthroughs given the scheduling of the present top-flight campaign, he told The Star: “There’s still a lot of work to be done and that is what the rest of the staff and myself will definitely be doing. Deals don’t just happen, they take a lot of time and energy to put together and you’ve got to get everything slotted into place. Or try to, because there are never any guarantees.
“That’s what we’ll be getting on with. There’s people to speak to, to find out what their intentions are and so on. It’s actually going to be a really busy time and we’ve got to get on with things as quickly as we possibly can because we want to be prepared and ready.”
Heckingbottom and his squad performed wonders last term, winning automatic promotion from the Championship and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, despite being forced to contend with a series of issues behind the scenes. They included speculation about the futures of Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge in January and the subsequent discovery that the English Football League had banned United from processing any new registrations due to a series of unpaid debts. These were later settled using monies generated by that march to Wembley, with United’s second placed finish averting the prospect of an 18 month block on any incoming signings.
Heckingbottom also spent much of the year answering questions about takeover speculation, with Dozy Mmobuosi and now a series of potential North American investors exploring the possibility of purchasing owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s shareholding. If an agreement with either of these or another party is reached, the financial resources which have been placed at Heckingbottom’s disposal could change. However, having issued a plea for all of those whose contracts could be about to expire to be offered extensions, the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief acknowledged it was more useful for him to receive clarity on how much United would have to spend rather than the amount itself.
Mmobuosi recently insisted he remains committed to purchasing United, despite so far failing to receive approval from the EFL and seeing the period of exclusivity he was granted by Prince Abdullah expire. A consortium of businesspeople with links to Silicon Valley and a brokerage which works with major US banks have been monitoring events in South Yorkshire closely since United’s return to the PL.