The contract proposal Sheffield United could make to Iliman Ndiaye

Sheffield United could invite Iliman Ndiaye to extend his contract, which is scheduled to expire at the end of next season, in return for inserting a release clause into the deal.
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Aged 23, the Senegal international is one of the most exciting young players in the English game after representing his country at last year’s World Cup and helping Paul Heckingbottom’s side win promotion back to the Premier League.

But with Ndiaye set to become a free agent in just over a year’s time and his representative previously showing little inclination to discuss fresh terms, United face the prospect of either selling him this summer or losing their most valuable asset for nothing.

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Heckingbottom would prefer the latter, having made it clear that his squad’s prospects of establishing a foothold at the highest level would be greatly diminished if the attacker departs. In order to try and ensure that happens, whilst protecting the interests of both his player and employers, the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian coach is expected to propose a compromise which would see Ndiaye put pen to paper on a new agreement which contains a pledge from United allowing him to depart for a fee unlikely to put-off potential suitors. Sources at Bramall Lane believe this could persuade his advisor to the negotiating table, because his client’s salary would also be increased to reflect his status within the team. Despite scoring 15 goals last term and impressing alongside the likes of Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Idrissa Gueye of Everton in Qatar, Ndiaye is thought to be among United’s lowest earners after previously signing a new contract in 2021, soon after making his professional debut during a top-flight match at Leicester City.

Heckingbottom, who was in caretaker charge at the time, is known to enjoy an excellent relationship with Ndiaye - revealing he pledged to remain at United in January when the board of directors considered offloading him to ease the financial pressure which saw them placed under a transfer embargo for nearly three months. However, others tasked with guiding Ndiaye’s career are known to remember when a senior figure at United, who has since departed, applied pressure for the French-born forward not to be considered for first team selection after they rejected the terms which had been proposed immediately after that fixture in the east Midlands.

Despite the interest in him, from both home and abroad, Ndiaye has impressed Heckingbottom with both his focus and refusal to push for what would be a lucrative move elsewhere. Sander Berge, the Norway midfielder, has conducted himself in a similar manner and, unless Heckingbottom is told otherwise, appears set to remain in South Yorkshire and see out his arrangement, which also runs-out next summer, before assessing his future. Like Ndiaye, he was also granted permission to speak with other clubs soon after Christmas but opted to stay and help United regain their top-flight status. That objective was achieved following a victory over West Bromwich Albion in April, with Heckingbottom’s men eventually going on to finish second and 11 points clear of third placed Luton Town.