Report: Wilder wanted Sheffield United to sign this player before Aston Villa yet again won the race
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Report: Wilder wanted Sheffield United to sign this player before Aston Villa yet again won the race

It’s emerged yet another player was recommended to the Sheffield United board by Chris Wilder, before eventually being signed by Aston Villa.

It’s already known that Wilder wanted both Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins last summer, but wage restrictions ruled the Blades out of both deals.

Instead, Cash and Watkins made the switch to Villa Park and have helped the Birmingham side to their current position of ninth in the Premier League.

Yet Sky Sports reports there was another target that Wilder missed out on to the Villans – Ross Barkley.

Barkley is on a season-long loan from Chelsea and has also played a key role in the success of Dean Smith’s team.


According to The Guardian, Villa are paying all of the midfielder’s £150,000-a-week wages. That is five times more than what the top earners at Bramall Lane are believed to get.

Callum Wilson was another wanted by Wilder, but joined Newcastle United from Bournemouth instead. Wilson earns £100,000-a-week after signing a five-year contract with Newcastle.

Wilder fighting a losing battle at Sheffield United

Photo by Mike Egerton – Pool/Getty Images

This disagreement on transfers turned out to be the beginning of the end for Wilder’s relationship with the Blades board.

The 53-year-old was criticised for his recruitment last summer, with expensive arrivals such as Rhian Brewster failing to impress.

Yet those were never his first choices. Wilder wanted the owners to show ambition and sign Barkley, Watkins and Wilson. They baulked.

The board will point to the fact that they sanctioned more than £50m in transfer fees last summer. But it was their unwillingness to change the wage structure that saw Wilder’s top targets move elsewhere.

After finishing ninth in their first top flight season in 12 years, he wanted the board to invest in him and his squad to take them to the next level.

They refused and now Wilder has gone. It could have been a very different story had they chosen to back him.

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