Sheffield United: Blades will look beyond Bramall Lane

Sheffield United chief executive Julian Winter
Sheffield United chief executive Julian Winter

David Weir will be allowed to stamp his mark on Sheffield United’s first team squad this summer, chief executive Julian Winter has confirmed.

Weir, who was appointed manager of the League One club four days ago, has vowed to make its youth academy the first port of call for fresh talent when the new season begins in seven weeks time.

But Winter acknowledged United are prepared to enter the transfer market despite the constraints on Weir’s recruitment budget.

“There will still be squad transition,” Winter said. “Not huge amounts but we recognise we’ve got to create money to recruit”

Defeat in last term’s play-off semi-finals has strengthened United’s resolve to become a sustainable business.

Wolverhampton Wanderers, recently relegated from the Championship, are expected to be the biggest spenders in England’s third tier with an estimated annual budget of around £10m.

Nevertheless, having built an enviable reputation for producing home-grown footballers, United believe they have an ace up their sleeve. George Long, poised to represent England at the FIFA under-20 World Cup, Italy under-18 striker Diego De Girolamo, Joe Ironside, Elliott Whitehouse, Harry Maguire and Callum McFadzean feature among Shirecliffe’s most recent graduates.

Kyle Walker and Phil Jagielka also started their careers at Bramall Lane before winning international honours.

“We’ve got to be creative and clever,” Winter said. “Will the club be shopping in a different market? Yes.”