Sheffield United are back in the Premier League and that means they’ll have a lot of work to do over the summer to prepare for their top-flight return.
Of course, they still have the final game of the Championship game to see to, but eyes will be firmly on the summer plans now.
Sheffield United will have plenty of decisions to make over new contracts and it won’t be long before their retained list emerges. Here, we look at what to expect…
Who could be released?
Most of the Blades’ out of contract players have played fairly important roles this season but some could still be deemed surplus to requirements ahead of their return to Premier League football.
Long-serving midfielder John Fleck has been a vital servant for Sheffield United but his form and involvement has dipped this season, so it remains to be seen if he is still a part of the plans going forward. Enda Stevens is in a similar position after an injury-hit campaign and while his experience could be vital, he could find himself heading for pastures new.
A tough decision needs to be made over firm favourite and legendary Jack O’Connell too. He’s yet to return from a lengthy absence and while he has been progressing, a new contract would need to be agreed. Another club legend in Billy Sharp is also out of contract and at 37, he is more than likely nearing the end of his career. His fairytale spell with Sheffield United could end this summer but there would be few complaints if his contract was extended – the same goes for O’Connell too.
Ben Osborn may well head elsewhere but his versatility means he’s always a useful player to have in the squad. He’s not really been able to nail down a starting spot though and could find more regular action elsewhere.
Who could be retained?
In terms of who could stay, reports have said it is hoped Oli McBurnie pens a new deal. Paul Heckingbottom has previously spoken of a possible loan exit for Ismaila Coulibaly too, suggesting he will be kept on as well.
While moves for a new goalkeeper have been mooted, Wes Foderingham has been the go-to man in goal this season and he should be hopeful of earning a new contract. Jack Robinson has had critics at times but as a left-sided defender, his presence could remain valuable as well.
Last but not least, midfield metronome Oliver Norwood is someone who needs to be tied down to a new deal. He’s been crucial for Sheffield United once again and he’d be a seriously tough player to replace in the midfield.