The spotlight at Sheffield United returns to transfers

Sheffield United are continuing the process of attempting to sign the two new players Chris Wilder believes could hold the key to the club’s Premier League survival hopes, despite failing to make the early breakthrough in the transfer their manager craved.

Sunday, 17th January 2021, 6:00 pm

With a left-sided centre-half and an attacking midfielder still regarded as priority positions despite a spate of injuries elsewhere in his squad, Wilder had hoped to have at least one fresh addition at his disposal for today’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur, which finished 3-1 in the visitors’ favour.

However, with a combination of market conditions and United’s decision to pursue loan rather than permanent deals complicating this month’s recruitment drive, Wilder is still waiting to learn if any of the “recommendations” he presented to Bramall Lane’s hierarchy before Christmas are likely to arrive.

“There’s nothing to report, I want to talk about football because that’s the most important thing right now,” he said. “Football is what I’m totally focused on, because that’s the way it’s got to be. It has to, with the situation we are in and what we’re trying to do.”

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Sheffield United's David McGoldrick celebrates scoring their first goal with John Fleck during the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur at the Bramall Lane: Mike Egerton/Pool via AP

With their league campaign now at the halfway stage, United are 11 points adrift of safety following the defeat by Jose Mourinho’s side. Jesse Lingard of Manchester United, Preston North End’s Ben Davies and Omar Colley of Sampdoria are known to have attracted Wilder’s interest in recent months, although he admits the latter is unlikely to be tempted away from Italy to join a relegation battle.

As The Star revealed toward the end of last year, Wilder has no plans to exercise an option to recall Ismaila Coulibaly from a loan spell at Beerschot, while reports that United are keen on luring Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori to South Yorkshire fail to explain that Ethan Ampadu, the England international’s team mate at Stamford Bridge, would have to be released from his temporary agreement with Wilder’s employers in order to process a move. PL rules prohibit members from entering into two loan arrangements with a rival club at the same time.

Kyle Joseph of Wigan Athletic and Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet are also understood to have attracted admiring glances from Wilder.