Sheffield United: Why manager has stepped away from contract talks

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, will play no part in the club’s contract negotiations with those players he has recommended for new deals after explaining it would distract him from the day to day running of first team affairs at Bramall Lane.
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Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Rotherham, with his side sitting at the top of the Championship table, Heckingbottom confirmed he has put forward a number of names to the board whose terms and conditions need to be revised.

Iliman Ndiaye is known to be among them, with Heckingbottom recently insisting it would be wise for United to protect their investment in the youngster following his recent call-up by Senegal. Although he wants his employers to prioritise talks with younger members of United’s squad, Heckingbottom also knows a number of senior professionals, including John Fleck and Billy Sharp, have entered the final year of their existing agreements.

Iliman Ndiaye is a key player for Sheffield UnitedIliman Ndiaye is a key player for Sheffield United
Iliman Ndiaye is a key player for Sheffield United
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“Contracts are not my job to do,” Heckingbottom said. “We’ll discuss them. We know who we want to sit down with. If it was my decision then I'd get on with it. But it’s not. It’s looked at. It just takes a long time. There’s lots of factors behind it.”

Although Ndiaye is tied to United until 2024, coaching staff are aware his recent performances, coupled with his potential involvement in this winter’s World Cup, could provoke a flurry of interest when the transfer window reopens in January.

Ndiaye enters the meeting with Paul Warne’s side searching for his fifth goal in nine outings since August.

Paul Heckingbottom is focusing on football: Andrew Yates / SportimagePaul Heckingbottom is focusing on football: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Paul Heckingbottom is focusing on football: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“If I’m spending all my time on that,” Heckingbottom added, referring to contracts, “Then I’m not doing my job.”