Paul Heckingbottom has admitted he would like to get Sheffield United’s transfer business done early this January.
Sheffield United are hoping to sign a new centre back, according to reports, having identified it as a weakness in the squad he inherited mid-season.
This is Heckingbottom’s first transfer window since taking over the team from Slavisa Jokanovic and thus is his first time to make a stamp on the squad.
United lack sufficient cover at centre back, with only Jack Robinson an able deputy in the absence of any of Chris Basham, John Egan and Ben Davies.
There is also long-term uncertainty with both Basham, who turns 34 in May, and Davies, who is on loan from Liverpool.
“I would like to get on with things if we can. We don’t want to be short term in what we can recruit,” said Heckingbottom, via the Sheffield Star.
“We want to get close to two players in every position, and make sure we are getting the right player in in terms of age, profile and succession planning and things like that.”
Heckingbottom also admitted that he and his recruitment team have lists for an ideal scenario and for if something goes wrong this January.
“We have a list in an ideal world with what we need in terms of age, profile and position, considering then any younger players coming through,” Heckingbottom added.
“Then we have the ‘what if?’ scenarios. What if this player goes down? What if we lose this position because we are light? Then that could be a last-minute loan for the remainder of the season.”
Quiz: Can you name which club Sheffield United signed these 20 strikers from?
Sheffield United have been linked with defender James Hill from Fleetwood Town, however they are not the only ones competing for his signature this January.
The Blades are 13th in the Championship, but have up to as many as four games in hand on some of their nearest rivals.
Heckingbottom’s side are on a four game winning run, but their last game came against Fulham on December 20.
Their next game is against Wolves in the FA Cup Third Round on January 9, with their next league game coming away to Derby County on January 15.
Heckingbottom is saying all the right things about planning for future transfers. Looking at age profile, tactical fit and cost are all crucial steps in making a deal.
However, there is less room for this type of manoeuvrability in January.
There will need to be backup plans on backup plans because of how volatile the transfer market currently is, but it’s a positive sign that big name clubs are circling around their transfer targets. It’s a sign the scouts are certainly onto something, at least.