West Bromwich Albion are interested in appointing Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder as their new boss.
The Sun on Sunday (2/6, page: 60) reports that the Baggies were hoping to pull off an ambitious move to land Wilder.
That is despite the fact he has just been promoted to the Premier League with the Blades. They finished second behind Norwich City to return to the top flight for the first time in 12 years.
It was the second promotion in three years since Wilder took charge at Bramall Lane. The 51-year-old is also a boyhood United fan and academy product at the club.
So him leaving his beloved side for a team in the Championship appeared unlikely. Except that an ongoing feud between the Blades’ co-owners has cast his position into doubt.
Kevin McCabe and Prince Abdullah are currently in a High Court case to determine which man takes control of the club. They each own a 50 percent stake as it stands.
However, the report says that instead of joining West Brom, Wilder will sign a one-year extension to his current contract in South Yorkshire. He will also be given a £20m transfer budget.
Is this enough?
Wilder has over-achieved since being named manager in 2016. That first campaign United won League One with 100 points. The following year they finished 10th in the Championship and now they have been promoted.
This is despite spending significantly less than most of their rivals. Yet the step up to the Premier League is a big one and Wilder can’t be expected to work miracles forever.
The squad needs improving if they are to stay up. The Sheffield Star says that Wilder wants five new players – a goalkeeper, wing-back, attacking midfielder and two strikers.
Dean Henderson looks set to rejoin on loan from Manchester United as the ‘keeper. Another Sheffield Star reports says that Britt Assombalonga, Neal Maupay and Oli McBurnie are the forward options being assessed.
Apparently the Blades are only prepared to pay significantly less than the £15m Middlesbrough sanctioned for Assombalonga.
The Sun (19/5, page: 63) has previously said Swansea City’s McBurnie will cost around £12m. Meanwhile, in January Sky Sports reported Brentford wanted more than £20m for Maupay.
Signing five first team quality players – even when loans are taken into account – with a budget of £20m is an extremely tall order for Wilder.
Maybe these rumours of moving to other clubs would seem less likely if United just backed him financially.