David Weir, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted he possesses the expertise required to unearth hidden gems in the transfer market, writes James Shield.
Weir, previously of Everton, Hearts and Glasgow Rangers, has not competed below top-flight level since helping Falkirk win promotion nearly two decades ago.
With United preparing for another season in League One following their defeat in last term’s play-off semi-finals, chief executive Julian Winter announced plans to become “a sustainable business” before the former Scotland defender’s appointment was confirmed.
Weir said: “I’ve spent the past two or three years watching a lot of football at all levels. I’ve also spoken to a lot of people within the game.
“I like to think I’ve got a broad spectrum of knowledge and understanding.”
Weir, aged 43, outlined plans to “create a pathway” between academy and first team levels after being officially unveiled on Tuesday.
Together with midfielders Callum McFadzean and Elliott Whitehouse, centre-forward Joe Ironside features among the home-grown talent expected to feature prominently through the forthcoming campaign.
Diego De Girolamo is also being tipped to make a big impact when he recovers from a knee injury sustained on international duty with Italy’s under-18’s.
Kris Boyd, who played alongside Weir at Ibrox, has indicated he would consider joining his former team mate at Bramall Lane after describing Danny Wilson’s successor as “a big influence on my career.”
“He’s been there and done it,” the out-of-contract striker said. However, it remains unclear whether Weir views Boyd as a potential acquisition.
Meanwhile, Craig Brown has shed further light on why he believes Weir will prove a success at Bramall Lane.
“You will not get a better equipped guy,” the former Scotland and Aberdeen chief said. “I remember when he was the Rangers captain at Pittodrie and he always escorted the referee off at half-time.
“I said to the referee: ‘can you not get off the park without an escort?’ But that was big Davie; he would be politely questioning him about decisions.
“In fact, by the time they got to the tunnel Davie would have given him an analysis of his first-half performance.
“But he would never swear or anything like that. He is very clever.
“I think he is the man.”
*Twitter: @James Shield1