Paul Heckingbottom expressed concerns about his squad ahead of the first kick-off in the Premier League, in a live interview with BBC Radio Sheffield.
Three of Sheffield United’s key players from last season’s promotion-winning team are no longer with the squad; Tommy Doyle and James McAtee returned to Manchester City and Iliman Ndiaye was today unveiled as a new Olympique Marseille player.
Heckingbottom was asked how his squad is shaping up so far:
“Right now we’re a long way off. If you just look at where we were last season, we’ve had two long term injuries with Rhian and Rhys, Bill and Enda out of the squad, four loans gone. That’s eight out straight away and we’ve brought in Yasser, Benie and Anis.”
“Those eight plus Iliman, we’ve only brought three in, so where we were last year to attack the Championship and we’re going into a tougher league so it shows how much we’ve got to do.”
Sheffield United’s depth gives poor reading and the club knows that, that’s why they are cracking on with identifying various targets for several positions. One player that we know is set to be announced is Auston Trusty, who is having a medical, Heckingbottom said in his hour-long live interview.
The Blades have also identified defensive midfielder Vinícius Souza, who plays for Vommel in Belgium, a club that is part of the Manchester City network. Souza is thought to be a replacement for Tommy Doyle, United feel as though extra defensive stability is needed in the Premier League. This signing would certainly give that.
Rumours have circulated on Twitter about Bayern Munich’s Malik Tillman being on United’s radar. This comes after details were revealed about the club being in negotiations with a player from a Champions League team. The attacking midfielder is wanted by Stuttgart, as well as Brighton and Brentford who are both prepared to offer £12m.