After signing Aaron Ramsdale from AFC Bournemouth last week, having also unveiled fellow goalkeeper Wes Foderingham a month earlier, manager Chris Wilder is hopeful of adding a third player to his squad before they return to England on Saturday.
Having already registered an interest in Reading midfielder John Swift and Matty Cash, the Nottingham Forest defender, Wilder also wants to bring a new centre-forward to Bramall Lane ahead of September 14th’s meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers; United’s first match of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign.
Although his focus is on preparing for tomorrow’s friendly against Dundee United at Tannadice, Wilder and United’s transfer negotiators are confident progress is being made in pursuit of the club’s leading targets.
Both Swift, previously of Chelsea, and Cash, one of the most exciting young talents in the Championship, are known to be keen on exploring moves to South Yorkshire after learning they feature on Wilder’s wanted list. Although neither Reading nor Forest are inclined to sell, and could demand players in exchange, they concede it will be difficult to deny them the chance of competing at the highest level after failing to win promotion last term.
The trip north of the border marks the start of a warm-up programme which also sees United face Derby County on Tuesday before concluding with a contest against Preston North End. Although there is a possibility Wilder could squeeze another outing onto the schedule, United, who have also been linked with strikers Emmanuel Dennis and Darwin Nunez of Club Brugge and Almeria respectively, are adamant they will be enough to brush off the cobwebs due to the quick turnaround in seasons. United were last in action on July 26, after competition was suspended in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s shorter, so we’ve made some changes,” Wilder said. “The objectives, though, are still the same as they always were. Those don’t change and they never will. We know what we’re working towards.”
As United’s search for attacking reinforcements intensifies, West Bromwich Albion’s Oli Burke is another name to reportedly appear on Wilder’s radar. Slaven Bilic, his counterpart at The Hawthorns, could be prepared to let the former RB Leipzig marksman leave for around £5m following a frustrating spell in the Midlands and would be keen in replacing him with Callum Robinson - who finished the campaign on loan there from United. However Wilder will be unimpressed by claims Bilic values Robinson at around £4m - significantly less than he paid to recruit the Republic of Ireland international from Preston last summer.
Despite struggling for opportunities during th build-up to Christmas, Wilder has been impressed by Robinson's professionalism since arriving from Deepdale and has no burning desire to push him through the exit door.