Chris Wilder has admitted that some Sheffield United players currently in contract negotiations might leave the club this summer.
The Blades have to start planning for next season, with the next transfer window opening in less than a week’s time on July 27.
They still have one more game to play before then at Southampton on Sunday. But they now know European qualification is beyond them following the 1-0 home defeat to Everton.
Yet whatever happens at St Mary’s they are guaranteed a top 10 finish in their first Premier League campaign in 12 years.
This is an impressive return to the top flight for Wilder’s side – but the 52-year-old is determined to build on this success.
Part of that involves securing players he wants to keep to new contracts. The likes of David McGoldrick, Ollie Norwood and Billy Sharp have all signed new deals since the restart.
However, others are stuck in talks – and Wilder admits some may not stay at Bramall Lane.
“There might be a couple that leave,” the Blades boss told BBC Radio Sheffield following the loss to the Toffees.
“There might be a couple of contract situations that don’t get sorted out and players don’t come to agreements.
“We have to look after the football club on that front.”
Who could leave Sheffield United if contract negotiations fail?
The three key players who remain in discussions over new contracts are Chris Basham, John Egan and John Lundstram.
Basham is out of contract in 2021 and has recently been linked with a move to Burnley and Newcastle United.
Lundstram will also become a free agent in less than a year’s time as things stand, after the club activated a 12-month extension in his deal. Wilder is said to have grown frustrated with these talks, which have now been dragging on for months.
Egan is committed to the Blades until 2022, but has also been reportedly interesting other Premier League teams. In December, Everton were said to be keen on the Republic of Ireland international.
Of the three, Egan would probably be the biggest loss. Lundstram has increasingly become a squad player since the club record signing of Sander Berge in January.
Meanwhile, Basham has been integral in defence, but is now 32-years-old and looks to be the most likely to be replaced in the back three.
As for Egan, the centre-back is 27-years-old and should be entering his prime. Yet, after Wilder’s latest comments, who knows which of them could potentially leave.