Chris Wilder has admitted Sheffield United must be creative in the transfer market if they want to challenge for the play-offs next season.
Highlighting the gulf in spending power which exists between many Championship teams, he acknowledged United must ways to bridge the financial gap which separates them from the likes of Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion who both receive Premier League parachute payments.
“We are never, at the moment, going to compete with the top-end Championship clubs,” Wilder said. “That’s a fact. We are not in position to do that at the moment, I’m not being critical, the owners know that.
“But we just need to maximise what we have got and attract some decent players here, who will make us better. We have to bridge that gap to the powerful teams who spend £6m, £8m, £10m.”
Wilder led United to within a whisker of the top six last term, despite a recruitment budget which suggested they should have been fighting relegation instead. Although co-owners Kevin McCabe and HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud recently sanctioned a significant increase, the amount they have made available means players such as Benfica’s Joao Carvalho, who is set to join Nottingham Forest in a £13.2m deal, are still beyond Wilder’s reach. Aitor Karanka’s side finished 17th - seven places behind United - last season.
“I think we’re an attractive proposition for players,” Wilder said. “If I was a player, this is the type of club I’d want to join; one where you know you’ve got a big crowd behind you and that is always going to have a really good go.”