Chris Wilder is refusing to abandon his policy of fiscal responsibility in the transfer market, despite acknowledging it could complicate Sheffield United's efforts to sign the experienced centre-forward he believes is required to challenge for promotion.
Speculation had been rife that Wilder could adopt a more adventurous approach after Martyn Waghorn, one of his leading transfer targets, completed a £7.5m move to Derby County instead.
But the United manager, whose side visit Queens Park Rangers this weekend searching for their first points of the new season, believes the financial difficulties being experienced by other Championship clubs underlines the importance of adhering to a budget. Dejphon Chansiri, the owner of neighbours Sheffield Wednesday, admitted earlier this week his team has been placed under a temporary embargo after struggling to comply with the English Football League's Profit and Sustainability regulations.
Middlesbrough, who beat United 3-0 last night, also made an approach for Waghorn when Ipswich Town admitted defeat in their battle to retain the 28-year-old's services earlier this month. Wilder's search for attacking reinforcements could place him in direct competition with Tony Pulis' side again if United decide to enquire about the availability of West Ham's Jordan Hugill. Previously of Preston North End, the striker faces an uncertain future in London only seven months after leaving Deepdale for a reported £10m fee and could be allowed to leave on loan before the August 31st deadline. Pulis, Wilder's opposite number in the North-East, believes Hugill would prefer to join his home-town club after growing-up on Teesside. But United might be tempted to test that resolve if Middlesbrough's bid stalls. Pulis is prepared to make room in his squad by sanctioning the departures of Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite, who both featured against United at the Riverside. That could provide Wilder with alternative avenues to explore, although addressing the defensive frailties which condemned them to a heavy defeat in the North-East are arguably his most pressing concern.
"If you give good players chances to score like we did out there, they are going to take them," Wilder said, after Aiden Flint, Stewart Downing and Braithwaite found the back of the net inside the opening 25 minutes. "It's going to be hard enough as it is, coming to a place where they have internationals and a £7m player on the bench, without gifting them openings. We're chasing the game, we give them a helping hand and then, suddenly, good players become even better."
With the window for permanent transfer set to close tomorrow, Wilder's attention is now focused on making temporary acquisitions following Waghorn's snub. The Star understands United received plenty of encouragement in their pursuit of the former Rangers marksman and were prepared to match County's initial £5m downpayment but balked at the player's wage demands.