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Why next Sheffield United manager could be an unfamiliar name to fans

Sheffield United will soon begin the search for their next manager.

It’s widely reported that Chris Wilder is leaving the role after almost five years in charge.

During that time Wilder took the Blades from bottom of League One to ninth in the Premier League.

The 53-year-old oversaw two promotions and a return to the top flight for the first time in 12 years. Last season was United’s highest league finish since 1992.

Yet the relationship between Wilder and the board has broken down over the course of this campaign. That, coupled with poor performances on the pitch, has led to this decision.

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The Blades are currently bottom of the table and 12 points from safety. The South Yorkshire side will almost certainly be back in the Championship next term.

Now the club have to make the huge decision about who they can hire to try and get United promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

And while bookmakers are already listing a host of the usual names to succeed Wilder, there are signs the next appointment could be more left field.

Who could be the next Sheffield United manager?

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Blades owner Prince Abdullah is keen for the club to be part of a wider worldwide network.

The Saudi Prince has been establishing his United World Group, which now consists of five sides following his acquisition of Ligue 2 team Chateauroux.

United are considered to be top of the pyramid, with the other serving as feeder clubs. They are Beerschot in Belgium, Al-Hilal United in the UAE and Kerala United in India.

Prince Abdullah has appointed long-time associate Jan van Winckel to the board at Bramall Lane. Van Winckel is a director of football in all but name and helped seal the signings of Sander Berge and Michael Verrips.

Clearly there is a view beyond English football and that’s why the next managerial appointment could well be foreign.

After all, there is clear evidence of Championship clubs enjoying success after looking abroad.

Daniel Farke looks set to lead Norwich City back to the top flight after being hired from Borussia Dortmund II.

David Wagner was also in charge of the Dortmund second team before moving to Huddersfield Town and guiding them to promotion.

Fellow Yorkshire side Barnsley are currently sixth in the table under Frenchman Valerien Ismael. They have a model that looks towards coaches that fit their style, appointing Gerhard Struber and Daniel Stendel through it prior to Ismael.

It wouldn’t be wholly surprising – or unwelcome – if United were to do something similar.

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