Sheffield United had a good season making it to the play-offs this season although, despite a good fight, the Blades could not overcome Nottingham Forest over two legs in the play-off semi-finals meaning they are now preparing for another season of Championship football.
There are good foundations in place at the club but Heckingbottom will be keen to make some additions to his squad in the hope that they can push further up the league next season.
United only made one permanent transfer acquisition last season – that being back-up goalkeeper Adam Davies – delving only into the loan market for significant strengthening as they lost barely any of the players from their Premier League squad.
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After the success of Morgan Gibbs-White this past season, who scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for the Blades on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, United’s CEO Stephen Bettis is keen to use the loan market again to strengthen the squad.
“To put it bluntly, the loan market means we can sign a player on £70,000 a week from a Premier League club because of where the numbers are, so we feel we can get a couple of really decent players from the Premier League,” Bettis told The Star.
“It’s also our reputation as well [that helps them] – we’ve built relationships and players have been successful here so they don’t mind them coming here.
“It’s probably the top half of the table we’d generally go to at the start because they’ve got such big squads and such quality still in their first 50 who can really excel at Championship level.”
It wasn’t just Gibbs-White who arrived on loan at Bramall Lane last season, with Conor Hourihane, Ben Davies, Robin Olsen and Charlie Goode also signing temporary deals with the South Yorkshire outfit.
Whilst the quarter had varying degrees of effectiveness at the club, Hourihane and Davies in particular played a key role at times, although perhaps not enough to secure permanent moves to Bramall Lane.
The success of the loan market for Sheffield United is something that Paul Heckingbottom alluded to himself before his side’s play-off semi-final defeat as he said: “I think Morgan and Wolves will be delighted with how he’s done here.
“I think that sends. message about how we can help people like Morgan really develop their potential and bring them on.
“Ultimately, it’s down to the player to show the right attitude, which Morgan has done totally. But we can help them flourish too.”
If used correctly, the loan market can be a very successful way for club’s to go about their business and the Blades are definitely a team that know how to use it to their advantage.
The club make sure not to overdo it with the number of loan signings they make but the one’s they do make are of high quality and just need that help to reach their next level of potential.
As both Bettis and Heckingbottom point out, the fact that players tend to do well at Bramall Lane helps build their reputation in the loan market and that is massively helped by the fact the Blades boss has so much experience in academy football helping players realise their potential.
Therefore, it would not be surprising to see United make a strong loan signing this summer which could really boost them for next season.