Chelsea and Manchester United are the two clubs Sheffield United are most likely to sign loan players from.
Now they too are back in the top flight of English football those links could start to reap their rewards.
These bridges were built back in Chris Wilder’s first season as manager at Bramall Lane in 2016/17. A member of Wilder’s backroom staff met with top tier sides to promote the benefit of loaning players to the Blades.
The 51-year-old now has a direct line to the youth development teams at both Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford.
“We’ve got great relationships with a number of the big guns, if you like, and know the people there,” Wilder said.
“I think they respect how we go about things, how we try and work with players and what this club has got to offer.”
A strong relationship
That same season after the links were established, Joe Riley joined on loan from the Red Devils. Nick Cox, who oversees the youth programme for Man United, used to work for the Blades.
It is believed he helped pave the way for Riley to come on loan. Later, Cox also played a part in Dean Henderson arriving in South Yorkshire.
Henderson was a key player in the successful promotion campaign of 2018/19. The goalkeeper played every minute of every game, as well as keeping more clean sheets than anyone else in the division. Wilder’s men also finished with the joint best defensive record.
Before Henderson was at the club, Jamal Blackman was between the posts. Blackman arrived on loan from the Blues for the 2017/18 season.
As yet no others have been signed from West London, although earlier in the 2018/19 campaign the Blades made an enquiry about Callum Hudson-Odoi.