US businessman Henry Mauriss’ possibility of buying Championship side Sheffield United was in the offing way back in January, as per an update from Yorkshire Live.
According to The Athletic, Mauriss has agreed a £115m deal to purchase the Blades off current owner Prince Abdullah with a change of ownership potentially set to come in the midst of the club’s attempts to get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
This potential switch may come as no surprise to some having seen United’s board spend just £250,000 in transfer fees in the past two transfer windows following their relegation back to the second tier at the end of last term.
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Even last November, chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa announced that he and Prince Abdullah would no longer be the main faces of the club when big events happened in South Yorkshire, potentially foreshadowing the latter taking a backseat.
He still remains in charge of the second-tier side as things stand – but a change could be coming faster than many would expect with Yorkshire Live revealing that a takeover attempt from Mauriss’ can be traced back to January.
And as per the same outlet, the EFL are currently reviewing this bid to ensure it satisfies the requirements of the Owners’ and Directors’ Test, the next step in the process with a takeover looking possible at this stage.
Any change is a risk so United fans will probably be looking at this takeover with cautious optimism – because it doesn’t look as though their current owners are going to hugely invest in their playing staff anytime soon.
Whether that’s because they want to ensure they remain within the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules remains to be seen – and sticking to that theme – Mauriss needs to ensure that’s an issue that’s at the top of his agenda if he completes a takeover.
They face the prospect of needing to abide by a strict business plan if they breach these rules and that would stifle their chances of returning to the top tier, so having ambition but remaining within the financial limits will be a tricky balancing act.
And they may need to experience some pain in terms of selling assets like Sander Berge if they want to bring in the players needed to give themselves the very best chance of either winning promotion next season if they miss out this term.
In an ideal situation, the Blades would be promoted this season and that would give Mauriss the revenue needed to splash out on top-quality players, boosting their chances of remaining at the top level for the long term. But that isn’t guaranteed, so he needs to have contingency plans in place to deal with several scenarios if he takes the reins at Bramall Lane.