Sheffield United: Wilder confident Blades will compete in spite of conservative spending

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder speaks to the media after his side's 1-0 win over Malaga in Coin, Spain
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder speaks to the media after his side's 1-0 win over Malaga in Coin, Spain
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has made no apology for refusing to pay inflated fees for players during this summer’s transfer market.

But Wilder, whose team beat Malaga FC in a friendly last night, insisted United will prove competitive at Championship level next term, despite previously describing the competition as “a casino league.”

Five new players, including Ched Evans and Richard Stearman, have arrived at Bramall Lane since May as the 49-year-old’s squad prepares for August 5th’s curtainraiser against Brentford. Ryan Leonard and MK Dons’ Ben Reeves are also known to boast admirers at Bramall Lane.

Wilder, who hosted United’s co-owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the club’s training camp in Marbella yesterday, said: “I can’t compete with what happens at other places in the division, where clubs are playing £45,000 a week for people who can’t get in the starting eleven or team.

“We’re at a different level but we are stable and sensible. We aren’t going to go ‘pop’ or have to sell the training ground.

“That won’t happen and I can’t let it happen. Because good people lose their jobs.

“I believe you can do it differently.”

Although United are considering an improved offer for Southend captain Leonard, Wilder refused to get dragged into a costly bidding war during their unsuccessful attempt to sign Ricky Holmes.

The Charlton Athletic winger agreed a new contract at The Valley before United’s flew-out to Spain on Monday after the two clubs failed to agree a fee.

Former loanee Ethan Ebanks-Landell, who had been the subject of talks between United and Wolverhampton Wanderers, has moved to MK Dons on a temporary deal after Wilder opted to pursue other targets.

“We’ve got to find a different way to solve the same problem but I think there is a different way,” Wilder said.

“Ultimately, you are going to have to invest to get the better players.

“We’re all ambitious and we all know where we want to be.

“But we’ll do it in a way that suits us, suits the ethos of the football club and also what the players are about, in terms of their mentality and the academy as well.”

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