The huge incentive Sheffield United have to finish the season strongly

Sheffield United’s results between now and the end of the Premier League season will have a “huge impact” upon their ability to capture Chris Wilder’s leading summer transfer targets, Steve Bettis, the club’s chief executive, has admitted.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 6:10 am

United travelled to Dubai for their winter break this week ranked fifth in the table, with only 12 matches of their schedule left to play.

Wilder is using the trip to hold talks with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud designed aimed at plotting United’s next recruitment drive, which is expected to begin in June.

Although he has described himself at being “delighted” with the progress his squad has made since being promoted last term, Wilder emphasised the importance of “continuing to drive forward” as United chase European qualification.

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Bettis explained why, acknowledging that performances over the next three months could bring previously unattainable players into the manager’s reach.

“The sums of money in terms of positional bonuses make such a difference that they can have a huge impact on what we do in the summer transfer market,” Bettis said. “Prior to January, we always had a plan for January and the summer in terms of budgets, but they're kept fluid because you never know what's going to happen and who you can get over the line in January.”

United, who broke their transfer record to sign Norway international Sander Berge last month, are preparing for February 22nd’s meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion only two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

PL merit payments, which reflect a team’s final league position, would have seen them receive £30.5m in prize money under last season’s distribution system if the campaign at ended following Sunday’s win over AFC Bournemouth.

Sheffield United climbed to fifth in the Premier League after beating AFC Bournemouth: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

That figure fell to £19.1m for the side finishing in 11th, while the 17th placed club received £7.7m.

Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder: Paul Terry/Sportimage
Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder and chief executive Steve Bettis: Scott Merrylees