The January transfer window is here and with it will come all sorts of rumour, hearsay, and ‘ITK’ comments doing the usual rounds until it slams shut at the end of the month. For Sheffield United fans, this January promises to be one of the least exciting in recent memory.
Short of funds and with a bloated squad, Paul Heckingbottom has already spoken of the desire to move a few on. With that, he’s also admitted he’d like a couple in. But it seems highly unlikely there’ll be an arrival before the decks have at least been neatened up.
Chris Wilder’s arrival at Middlesbrough poses natural curiosities. Will the former Blades boss raid the club for any of his trusted allies from yesteryear? If he does, the best ones will cost, there is no doubt.
United’s bigger earners and ‘better’ players are likely to come under the microscope. Sander Berge, heavily linked with Arsenal in the summer, remains on the books. John Egan, arguably United’s best player this season, is likely to be on the radar of someone. Others, like Oli McBurnie, George Baldock, Jayden Bogle, and Iliman Ndiaye, are all capable, too.
But will anyone actually want Sheffield United’s players? Well, according to the Daily Mail, there is a serious lack of Premier League interest anyway.
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It’s hardly surprising, really. United have had a dismal 2021 on the whole and what was once a squad that was the talk of the top flight, is now nothing more than a Championship team fighting it’s way back up the table under a third boss in 10 months.
The Mail’s report, which lists every player Premier League clubs apparently want, has not a single Blade in there. No Berge to Arsenal. No McBurnie to Wolves. Nothing. It seems, based on this anyway, that the Blades might be safe in the knowledge their best players are staying put.
The challenge, then, is to move the fringe players on. The likes of Oli Burke, Lys Mousset, and Luke Freeman surely have no future. But on decent Championship money, who is realistically taking them?
With a barren market, clubs needing to be more careful than ever with their cash, and United having some of the higher earners in the division, Paul Heckingbottom’s task is made all that bit harder.
Let’s hope, then, that there’s some mutual ground to be found throughout the month and we end it in a better place.