Sheffield United can now official prepare for the summer and next season, after relegation was confirmed with defeat at Wolves last weekend.
It brings and end to United’s two-year stay in the Premier League. An end to a fantastic journey led by Chris Wilder which has, sadly, reached the end in a manner nobody wanted to see.
But the club must move on and move on quickly. A new manager is the most immediate of matters to attend to. A number of names – up to 25 – are said to be in the running for the job.
According to The Athletic this week, that new manager will have raise around £40m in player sales. And that’s before any new faces are brought in.
Naturally, that has caused some Blades fans to take aim at Prince Abdullah again. But is selling players really such a big surprise? And is it really the Prince’s fault that we have to go down that road?
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A look at recently relegated clubs will tell you that it’s actually pretty normal to follow such a model.
£40m is easily raised, Sheffield United fans shouldn’t be surprised
The figure of £40m, per The Athletic’s report, is set given the loss in TV revenue United will see disappear. Parachute payments will offset some of that loss, but the rest will need to be made up. Player sales, then, are inevitable.
But we shouldn’t be surprised and this notion that the likes of Norwich, Bournemouth, and Watford haven’t done that, is simply untrue.
Bournemouth sold Nathan Ake for over £40m. Callum Wilson joined Newcastle for around £20m, and the Blades signed Aaron Ramsdale up for a cool £18m. Further players on big money also left, with the likes of Ryan Fraser, Jermaine Defoe, and Jordan Ibe departing.
At Norwich, Ben Godfrey left for around £25m, while Jamal Lewis went to Newcastle for about £15m. A quick sum will tell you that’s around that golden £40m mark.
Finally, Watford – who could go up automatically – also cashed in. Abdoulaye Doucoure was the big player sale, while the likes of Estupinan, Capoue, and Suarez also departed.
The Blades will likely follow a similar model. Sander Berge will probably leave for around the £30m mark. Other players who’ll attract interest from above will be John Egan, George Baldock, and, if fit, Jack O’Connell.
So while yes, it might seem another kick in the guts having to sell a few players, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise. United should still have enough in the squad to compete, and with a few additions and a new manager at the helm, there’s plenty to be positive about for next season.