Relegation to the Championship means Sheffield United will have to sensible this summer, with free agents likely to be of interest.
Whoever the new Blades boss is will want to strengthen the squad. It comes with the territory. You’ll be hard pressed to find any manager out there who comes into a club, and doesn’t want new signings.
But with around £40m in cuts expected at Bramall Lane, any new boss is going to have to use the budget wisely. A few signings are necessary regardless of who is the manager. But a look into the free-agent market could provide the Blades with some much-needed quality.
Covid-19 has hit clubs hard and with that, some players have seen their contracts dwindle down. That means Sheffield United could have the pick of some free agent signings this summer, if the finances make sense.
United have a rich history with free transfers. David McGoldrick, John Fleck, and Enda Stevens, three fine examples.
With that then, here’s a look at FIVE free agents who the Blades could look to land this summer.
Gayle is one the obvious and standout names on the upcoming free-agents list. He’s fallen out of favour at Newcastle and not quite kicked on since making a £10m move from Crystal Palace.
But he is proven at Championship level. And with United’s strikers hardly pulling up any trees, paying Gayle the wages to fire us back up might not be the worst idea.
Throw in Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie’s off-field issues, and the Blades could easily free the budget and squad space up for Gayle.
If United do decide to cash-in on Aaron Ramsdale just 12 months down the line, then an experienced short-term stopper like Heaton will be ideal.
Rumours are rife he could go back to Manchester United. But if the Blades need a stopper, then Heaton should be considered. He’s 35 now, but if the new United boss wants a reliable, proven stopper, then look no further than Heaton.
Burnley are yet to come to an agreement over fresh terms for Dunne and his situation could bode well for United.
Dunne, 23, is thought to want more first-team football and, per Lancs Live, was not among the group of players to recently pen new deals at Turf Moor.
The Irishman could be ideally placed to start afresh with United. The Blades need defenders through the door, too. Jack O’Connell remains out, while Phil Jagielka could go. Kean Bryan is also out of contract.
Dunne, then, could be a solid, if unspectacular, option.
Much like the aforementioned Dunne, Palace defender Ward would be a solid but unspectacular signing.
Crucially, he can operate at both full-back positions and while United are well stocked there on paper, sometimes a change is needed.
George Baldock could attract bids. Enda Stevens has been a shadow of his former self, while Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle are still young and learning their trade.
Ward, then, could prove a solid asset in the Championship.
Grosicki is another experienced name on this list but his impact at Championship level should not be discounted.
In the 18/19 season with Hull he scored 9 goals and set up another 12, while the season after he had scored 7 before moving on to West Brom.
Things haven’t quite happened for Grosicki at the Hawthorns but let’s not forget this is a Polish international with over 80 caps and 17 goals to his name at that level.
If United want a bit of creativity, flair, and new ideas in attack, then landing someone like Grosicki might be a smart move.