Sheffield United's £4m forgotten man set for transfer exit as first casualty of Chris Wilder's rebuild

Chris Wilder reshaping his Sheffield United squad ahead of crunch second half of Premier League season

Benie Traore could become one of the first casualties of Chris Wilder's Sheffield United rebuild as he neared a transfer move to France in this current transfer window. The striker joined in the summer in a deal thought to be worth around £4m from Swedish side Hacken but has not managed to establish himself in the Blades' starting XI.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Ivorian striker earned his move to United on the back of 12 goals in 14 games in the Allsvenskan but he has made just three league starts for the Blades, during the early part of the season before they signed Cameron Archer, and appeared only once under Wilder since he returned to the club to succeed Paul Heckingbottom. That was as a 74th-minute substitute against Liverpool on December 6 and having fallen behind Archer, Oli McBurnie and Will Osula in the pecking order, United are understood to be exploring the possibility of a loan switch for the 21-year-old this January.

French side Nantes had been linked be a possible destination for Traore, with Ouest-France reporting today that Traore is expected at Stade de la Beaujoire tomorrow [Wednesday] and that Nantes will have the option to purchase the striker after his six-month loan deal. Traore's imminent departure could free up some cash and a space in the squad for Wilder to utilise in this window as he looks to put his stamp on the squad he inherited from Heckingbottom around a month ago. The Blades chief is targeting two or three quality additions who can improve the first team, rather than simply bolstering the squad, with Prince Abdullah seemingly on the same page. "I think we will have some players in," the United owner said this week. "I would say two or three players."

Traore's Premier League debut arrived on the opening day of the season but he appeared to struggle with the physicality of the Premier League compared to his previous experience of the Swedish top-flight. His dream chance to make a name for himself came in his second appearance when he had a golden one-on-one chance away at Nottingham Forest but Matt Turner saved his effort and United went on to lose 2-1 thanks to Chris Wood's 89th-minute goal.

The youngster encapsulated United's summer transfer policy, which placed a large emphasis on young and cheap talent for the future rather than proven talent with experience of Premier League football. It is not an approach that has paid off, with United bottom of the Premier League table after 20 games, and Wilder has signalled his intention to go down a different path this January as he looks to rescue the season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Wilder recently conceded that some of the players he has deemed surplus to requirements may feel that they have not had a fair crack of the whip but time constraints mean that the manager and his coaching staff have had to make snap decisions on some players as he looks to reprofile the options at his disposal. Luke Thomas, Daniel Jebbison and John Fleck are also amongst the players to have barely featured under Wilder since he returned to the club early last month.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.