Wilson wary of transfer window booby traps

League Division One 'Bournemouth vs Sheffield United ''Utd's Boss Danny Wilson
League Division One 'Bournemouth vs Sheffield United ''Utd's Boss Danny Wilson

How Danny Wilson must wish he could buy several lengths of barbed wire, cordon off January, declare it a no-go zone and march his team right around it.

How Danny Wilson must wish he could buy several lengths of barbed wire, cordon off January, declare it a no-go zone and march his team right around it.

Instead, a month of booby traps awaits the Sheffield United boss as he tiptoes across the minefield of the transfer window.

It will take extreme care to negotiate it with a promotion-strength side intact. Will somebody at Bramall Lane take a careless step that blows up in the club’s face and craters the route back to the Championship?

In reality, all the traps are laid and well marked out. The labels read Ched Evans, Stephen Quinn, Nick Montgomery, Harry Maguire, Matt Lowton and George Long.

Everyone knows where the danger could strike. The trouble is, nobody can do much about it if the bids are high enough and the players are tempted. Or can they? Although the Blades have a £40m debt and a £10m wage bill that is huge excess baggage in League One, winning promotion would have inestimable value to the whole process of regaining stability.

The club, by owner Kevin McCabe’s admission, have gambled too often in the recent past. That’s why they are in this position.

So what a tough call it is to make. Would you like to take the sort of decisions McCabe will face in the coming weeks? Heart versus head is one way of putting it. All Unitedites will hope their supporter-chairman will go with the former and shut up shop.

And yet, like this recession-hit country as a whole, you can’t keep putting off cutbacks forever. They have to start somewhere and the bottom line has to be the ruling factor at the Lane right now.

McCabe, as a successful global businessman, seems to have a natural aptitude for making these crunch calls; it’s how he made his money in the first place. But I suspect the greater part of him will hope the overtures are low enough to spare him too much deliberation.

Or, at least that the offers are for players not named above. . . other than maybe a tempting offer for young Long who, as reserve keeper, would be most expendable.

Besides, being back in the second tier would harbour a new revenue stream, perhaps an investor at last and a fresh start.

Chief executive Julian Winter says the team’s current position will have a “huge” bearing on the way the window is tackled. He, like everyone, favours the trimming of fringe players.

But, most importantly of all, there is a strong feeling that United have bottomed out as a result of relegation. Hands were held up, mistakes acknowledged and lessons heeded.

The future looks brighter, certainly, than a year ago.

Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanBiggs1.