Heckingbottom brutally honest on Sheffield United’s recruitment

Paul Heckingbottom has asserted that Sheffield United had lost their identity as they geared up for their return to the Premier League last summer.

Promotions often usher in change, which can be both exhilarating and challenging for clubs as they venture into uncharted territory. However, Sheffield United fans experienced disappointment as influential players Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye were sold as the new season approached.

In addition to their departures, long-serving figures Enda Stevens and Billy Sharp were also permitted to leave, and defender Jack O’Connell retired due to injury.

While squad changes are customary during summer transfer windows, Heckingbottom believes that these moves led to a sense of loss of identity at Bramall Lane.

The Blades’ summer transfer dealings raised eyebrows, with the sale of Berge to Premier League rivals Burnley being particularly contentious.

He told TalkSPORT: “Even if you’ve got all the tools at your disposal, you’re competing against the best. We lost seven of the squad that went up, that was the big thing, all those high-profile players leaving towards the end of the window.

“I look at how someone like Luton have gone on – to try and build on what you’ve been doing really, really well, Luton have kept their squad together, recruited in a similar fashion to try and build an identity. We sort of lost our identity, through just the financial problems that we had at the club.”

When Sheffield United parted ways with Heckingbottom, they chose to reappoint Chris Wilder in an attempt to halt their decline. However, despite this move, fortunes have not improved, and Heckingbottom has acknowledged that the situation is “looking tough” for his former club.

Heckingbottom stated: “I’ve not spoken to [Wilder] since he’s gone in – I’ve not spoke to him. Listen, I want the club to do well and stay up – but it’s looking tough.”

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