Sheffield United will have to make a decision on signing Panos Retsos and Richairo Zivkovic permanently before the season has finished, reports the Sheffield Star.
The duo joined the Blades on loan from Bayer Leverkusen and Changchun Yatai respectively during the January transfer window. Both deals have the option to make the move permanent, should the club wish to activate it.
Yet while it has been agreed that both Retsos and Zivkovic can extend their loan stays until the end of the campaign, the clauses to sign them permanently do not last as long.
The pair initially joined on loan until May 30. However, both Leverkusen and Changchun have agreed that can be extended until the 2019/20 term is concluded in August.
It had been indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. Yet the Premier League will return on June 17, with United travelling to Aston Villa in the first fixture back.
When does a decision need to be made on Retsos and Zivkovic?
It’s unclear exactly when the Blades must decide if they want to sign Retsos and Zivkovic permanently. Only that it must be made before August.
Retsos has played just once for United sign his arrival, coming off the bench during the FA Cup fifth round victory over Reading. The Greece international has also made three match day squads in the league.
Zivkovic hasn’t even done that, as the striker looks to regain his match fitness having not played since November.
The Dutchman was on the score sheet on Tuesday, though, as the Blades beat Hull City 4-0 in a friendly. John Lundstram netted a brace, while John Fleck scored the other goal.
Both Retsos and Zivkovic do have an increased chance of playing when competitive fixtures return next week. That is because, as part of new Premier League rules, teams are permitted to make up to five substitutions during the game. Rather than the usual three.
Manager Chris Wilder has previously said the decision to sign them permanently could be made without them getting on the pitch at all. But Wilder has also admitted that the current pandemic has affected the club’s finances and therefore their transfer policy.
Whether he wants to spend the available funds on Retsos and Zivkovic remains to be seen. Yet a decision must be made soon.