Boss Paul Heckingbottom is hoping for more transfer clarity from Sheffield United’s hierarchy after a planned meeting in Geneva earlier this week.
The Blades chief had conversations with players last week ahead of their promotion parade around the streets of Sheffield to celebrate returning to the Premier League, but admitted that his hopes for the future differ somewhat from those of his employers.
A number of United players are out of contract this summer and although some are set to see options in their deals exercised, either by themselves or the club, others are facing a more uncertain future - including skipper and club legend Billy Sharp, who made an emotional address to supporters from the Town Hall last week and admitted that this could be the end of his association with his boyhood club.
Heckingbottom has publically stated his desire to keep the majority of his current squad intact, and avoid the five or six players he is targeting this summer becoming 10 to 12 on an already-modest transfer budget. Speaking before preparing to fly to Switzerland, to meet members of the United World hierarchy that owner Prince Abdullah uses to manage his portfolio of global clubs, Heckingbottom was asked if he was any closer to receiving the clarity he has been seeking to allow him to plan for next season and beyond.
“Yeah I am,” he said. “We’ve had conversations, I know what I want and the board are a little bit different. We’ll wait and see. I’ve spoken to players and I’ve given players bad news, good news.
“But it doesn’t mean that I, we, can accept that. It’s going to be ongoing. I’m going to speak to the board in Geneva and we’ll see what happens.”
Heckingbottom has made no secret of his view that, in his eyes, his job starts now, to get United in some sort of shape to enable them to compete in the Premier League next season. The majority of his transfer business is expected to focus on the loan market, with free transfers also being considered to stretch the budget placed at his disposal as far as it will possibly go.
“The job’s relentless, and you have to be that way,” he added, speaking to the BBC at United’s promotion parade. “Ultimately, when I leave Sheffield United, I’ll be sacked and it won’t be because I’m bad, it’ll be because other people aren’t as good as me. Simple.
“But the problem now is that I’m trying to drive all those people to do the job and if you speak to any football manager, that’s what it is. You will never, ever stop.
“But in the moments at the parade, with all the players and the families, my family’s here and all the fans outside, it was fantastic. So this is my moment; this is where I’m relaxing a little bit and enjoying what we’ve done.”