Chris Wilder has told Sheffield United this summer’s new arrivals must all be capable of making an immediate impact at first team level.
The directive, issued as the Championship club prepares to re-enter the transfer market, confirms his latest recruitment drive will focus on high-quality additions with either second tier or top-flight experience in their respective countries.
Wilder believes the policy is necessary to ensure United, who entered the final match of last season chasing play-off qualification, give themselves the best possible chance of going one better next term. It also marks a departure from his previous strategy of recruiting talented but unproven performers from the lower leagues.
“Whoever comes in has got to be able to go straight in,” Wilder said. “They’ve got to have the ability, the experience of both to be involved right from the start. That’s the type of people we’re looking at.”
Despite acknowledging United require a new goalkeeper to compete with Simon Moore and Jake Eastwood, Jamal Blackman’s desire to return after completing his loan from Chelsea has allowed Wilder and his coaching staff to concentrate on bolstering other areas of their squad with two new centre-forwards and a centre-half immediate priorities. Blackman, whose employers could offer United the opportunity to borrow more members of their development and FA Youth Cup winning sides, is known to be keen on remaining in South Yorkshire although Wilder will scour the market before informing the 24-year-old of his final decision.
Captain Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke, least season’s leading goalscorer, both form part of United’s plans but are expected to be joined at Bramall Lane by two more strikers. A third attacker could also arrive if David Brooks is lured away by either AFC Bournemouth or another of the Premier League outfits who are monitoring his situation. The Wales international, a graduate of United’s Steelphalt Academy, recently decided to change his agent and is now part of the same stable as Harry Kane, Callum Wilson and Jamaal Lascelles.
“There’s plenty going on,” Wilder said. “We’re working hard behind the scenes to get the people we want in.”
“We’ve got quality here and we want to bring even more to keep on improving the levels,” he added. “Of course, there will always be exceptions but what we want is lads who can go in from the beginning and challenge for a place. Players who can bring that little bit of extra edge to the team.
“By getting those, that keeps driving the levels up. It gives us the opportunity of building on our progress.”