Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed he still doesn’t know the exact budget he will have in the summer despite the season coming to a close, making this admission to Yorkshire Live.
According to the Sheffield Star, the club are already engaging in discussions with representatives of potential additions as they look to steal a march on other sides going into what could be a crucial few months for the Blades as they look to strengthen.
However, it’s currently unclear which division the South Yorkshire outfit will be competing in next season with a return to the top flight still possible at this stage.
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They go into their final fixture of the regular league campaign sitting just two points above Middlesbrough who currently sit in seventh, with Millwall also having a slim chance of knocking the Blades out of the top six in time for the end of the season.
And Heckingbottom’s side face one of their toughest games of the season in this last match as they take on champions Fulham, who will be seeking revenge for Iliman Ndiaye’s winner at Craven Cottage back in December.
Despite this uncertainty surrounding their short-term future, United’s boss is keen to learn more about what funds he will have to play with when the summer window opens as he looks to strengthen his side.
He said: “We are not in a position to know exactly what the squad is going to look like next season and the positions we need to fill.
“To do that you need to know exactly what you have got in the budget to pay wages and transfer fees if any, how many loans are we going to need?
“That’s where the clarity needs to come. We have either got to fill the gaps with the players in the building, or we have got to fill them with players from elsewhere.”
In fairness to the Blades’ board, the club is currently the subject of a £115m takeover bid and with the situation currently unclear on whether a deal will be sealed or not, Prince Abdullah is potentially wise in holding back his funds.
However, he would get the money he may spend on transfers in the coming days and weeks back from any takeover deal considering the amount US businessman Henry Mauriss is prepared to pay for the club.
And there’s a chance that this takeover may not even go through, so holding back funds now and not giving Heckingbottom a budget may be damaging in the long run as the 44-year-old looks to move quicker than other clubs in the transfer market.
Alterations can be made to the budget when they know which division they are competing in next season – but there are players that United’s boss may want to sign regardless of which division they are in.
This is potentially part of the reason why the 44-year-old wants details on a budget now and you can’t exactly blame him because how much he has to spend will determine which transfer strategy they pursue.