Why Sheffield United's preferred choice to replace Chris Wilder could be forced to assemble a new team

Alexander Blessin’s backroom staff at KV Oostende would be required to fulfil the same world permit criteria as the 47-year-old if Sheffield United decide to appoint him as their next manager and also attempt to bring his technical team Bramall Lane.

By James Shield
Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 5:00 pm

Following Brexit, anyone wishing to take charge or coach an English club must be able to demonstrate they have worked in a ‘Top League’ for either 24 consecutive months or a minimum of 36 since 2016.

‘Top Leagues’ are banded into five different tiers, with the Belgian Jupiler Pro League placed in tier two, alongside Turkey’s Super Lig, the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Holland’s Eredivisie and the Championship.

Blessin, who took charge at the Versluys Arena in June, was previously employed on RB Leipzig’s youth programme - joining the Saxony based outfit following a spell as assistant manager at SV Bonlanden, who compete in Germany regional football.

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Markus Pflanz, Blessin’s number two at Oostende, managed TSV Kunzell before heading to Oostende. Video analyst Matthias Grote operated under Ralf Rangnick and Ralph Hassenhuttl, now of Southampton, during his spell at the Red Bull Arena. He arrived in Belgium following a spell with FC Ingolstadt.

After parting company with Chris Wilder last month, United announced the former manager’s coaches Darren Ward and Matt Prestridge had left South Yorkshire ahead of their defeat by Leeds three days ago. Alan Knill, who assisted Wilder during his two promotion winning campaigns, watched from the stands at Elland Road but could also leave after being offered a non-coaching technical position. HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, United’s owner, recently insisted he has no plans to install a director of football either this season or next, when United are expected to return to the Championship following a catastrophic Premier League campaign.

Jason Tindall, whose brief reign at AFC Bournemouth ended soon after Christmas, is assisting caretaker Paul Heckingbottom.

He is scheduled to remain at the helm until the summer, although United could decide to unveil Wilder’s replacement sooner in order to help smooth their transition back to the English Football League with the squad in need of freshening up.

Alan Knill was Chris Wilder's assistant at Sheffield United: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

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Oostende's head coach Alexander Blessin is wanted by Sheffield United: KRISTOF VAN ACCOM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images