Sheffield United edge closer to second summer signing amid EFL investigation

It is set to be a busy week at Sheffield United Football Club with more potential new signings on the way and the release of the new kit before United’s first pre-season friendly, against York City on Saturday afternoon.

The Blades make a short trip to the LNER Community stadium, but before that the club could be set to break the silence regarding the takeover situation after it was claimed by BBC Radio Sheffield’s Rob Staton that: “the consortium looking to buy Sheffield United will submit for EFL approval in coming days. They’ve had talks with EFL already. With league approval, they would take over.”

Staton also shares that there has been interest from other parties. This has likely prompted the consortium to go about finalising a deal with Prince Abdullah and the EFL.

These latest checks by the EFL will be much shorter than the previous tests they’ve done on the consortium, as per Alan Nixon. This could mean it may be a matter of days and not weeks that this takeover gets finalised, which would be brilliant news as this takeover saga has dragged on for far too long and for now is hindering much of the club’s transfer decisions.

It has been claimed on many occasions that the Blades do have multiple deals in place for a number of players, but they are holding off finalising deals until the club’s ownership situation has been resolved.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 30: Chris Wilder, Manager of Sheffield United, applauds the fans after the team’s defeat in the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sheffield United at Selhurst Park on January 30, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Sheffield United to face EFL investigation

In other news, it is being reported by The Sun that Sheffield United are facing a disciplinary probe after several clubs reported to the EFL that representatives of the incoming American owners have been involved in transfer negotiations.

According to EFL regulations, incoming owners are prohibited from acting on behalf of the club they are seeking to purchase before the completion of a takeover. The EFL is currently investigating the matter to determine if there has been a breach of these rules.

Birmingham City were previously punished for a similar offence, but in their case they were signing players from other clubs (whereas United have signed just one free agent), and as a result they were handed a suspended two-point deduction.

It has been widely claimed that Des Taylor is acting as a transfer advisor for the prospective new owners and has been involved in identifying targets over the last few weeks without actively being employed by the club, which is why some teams have taken issue with it.

Norwich City’s English defender #15 Sam McCallum controls the ball during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Norwich City at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 28, 2024. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) / 

The Blades looking to close in on second summer signing

Meanwhile, The Star have reported that Sheffield United are hoping to confirm the signing of 23-year-old left-wingback Sam McCallum before their first pre-season game at the weekend.

Chris Wilder is currently short on left-back and left-wingback options with only Rhys Norrington-Davies being the only recognised senior player in that position. If a deal cannot be sorted before the weekend then it will likely give an opportunity for youngster Jilli Buyabu to get a run out at some stage.

Another couple of wide players linked with Sheffield United

It has been claimed by Alan Nixon that Sheffield United have entered the race to sign promising Crystal Palace winger Jesurun Rak-Sakyi. Blackburn Rovers are another team that are keen on the player, however, it is thought that the 21-year-old would prefer a loan move closer to Selhurst Park, with Luton Town and Queens Park Rangers emerging as options.

The former England under 20’s international has already tasted EFL action in the 2022/23 season with Charlton Athletic. During his only loan spell away from Palace the winger netted 15 goals and provided nine assists in 49 appearances in all competitions for Charlton.

Rak-Sakyi, who was once dubbed the potential Wilfried Zaha replacement by the Eagles, is quite prolific for a wide player having scored 23 times in 36 matches in the Premier League 2, also adding seven assists to his name.

The other wide player the Blades have been linked with is out of contract 34-year-old left winger Matt Ritchie, per Craig Hope. The Scotsman has just recently left Newcastle United following his contract expiring.

Whilst the potential signing of Ritchie is far from spectacular his experience is unmatched having played over 300 times at Championship and Premier League level. The 34-year-old would offer a ton of experience and cover for the team having played most of his career across three positions: right winger, left winger, and left-wingback.

Ritchie should really be considered as one of the greats of the EFL having played a massive part in helping Bournemouth climb up the English footballing pyramid as they went from League One to the Premier League in the matter of four years.

My view on the two new names linked with the Blades

Ritchie has been there, seen it and done it on several occasions. That alone should be enough evidence to have him in the dressing room for next season.

A squad rebuild of course should rightly be about bringing in young and fresh players, but realistically you cannot do that for every place in a 25-man squad. Bringing in somebody like Ritchie gives a player you know you can count on to bring on from the bench and see the game out using his experience and game management.

While Ritchie is on the verge of closing out his career, Rak-Sakyi is at the opposite end of the spectrum and he is looking to have a breakout season in the upcoming campaign. A loan spell at Bramall Lane would be perfect.

He is a player I’ve known about for 3 or 4 years and he will definitely not fail to get Unitedites out of their seats: a quick and strong skillful dribbler of the ball.

Tags Jesurun Rak-Sakyi Matt Ritchie Sam McCallum Takeover Transfers

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