Sheffield United: Billy Sharp keen to get an answer over Bramall Lane future

Billy Sharp has urged Sheffield United to confirm if they plan to keep him next season after entering the closing stages of his contract at Bramall Lane.

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 7:19 am

The centre-forward, now the most prolific goalscorer in Championship history following his strike against Peterborough last weekend, is among a number of senior players set to become free agents this summer including fellow marksman David McGoldrick and defender Chris Basham.

Despite turning 36 later this month, Sharp remains a key figure in the team manager Paul Heckingbottom believes is capable of winning promotion following a series of impressive results since his appointment in November.

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Billy Sharp is the leading goalscorer in the Championship since the division was rebranded: David Klein / Sportimage

Revealing Heckingbottom has confirmed he wants United to exercise a clause entitling them to extend his stay at the club for at least another 12 months, Sharp confirmed the deal he negotiated two years ago stipulates a date by which Bramall Lane’s hierarchy must trigger it. If that is allowed to pass, then the player would be left with no choice but consider a move elsewhere - even though he wants to end his career with his boyhood club.

“I spoke to the gaffer about the club having an option on me so hopefully they will tell me before the time it says on my contract,” Sharp told The Star. “Because I want to know and be here. The gaffer says he wants me in the team.”

“I’ll know when it’s time to give up,” he added. “I feel great at the moment and I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to stay in this team.”

Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp wants to stay at Bramall Lane: David Klein / Sportimage

A legendary figure at United, Sharp has netted 106 times in only 195 starts since embarking upon his third spell there in 2015. Having progressed through United’s youth system before rejoining them following a successful spell at Scunthorpe, he returned to South Yorkshire at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign after leaving Leeds.

A member of the squads Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder led to promotion from both League One and the second tier, Sharp’s effort at the Weston Homes Stadium was his ninth of the season.

Speaking earlier this month, Heckingbottom indicated that United will begin the process of deciding which contract options to take up and those they will allow to expire when it “becomes clear” which division they will be competing in next term.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Leila Coker/PA Wire.

The victory over Darren Ferguson’s side lifted United to 11th in the table and was their fifth in six outings under Heckingbottom’s stewardship.

Basham, aged 33, has also expressed a desire to remain at the club following positive discussions with the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief. However, like Sharp, he appears destined for an anxious wait before discovering if United’s board of directors will make him an offer.

Basham, who arrived from Blackpool eight years ago, appeared destined for the exit door after losing his place in the starting eleven under Slavisa Jokanovic. But with Heckingbottom reverting to a back three after replacing the Serb, the midfielder turned centre-half’s fortunes have dramatically improved. His header forced the mistake which sealed United’s win over Peterborough, after Sharp had earlier opened the scoring.