Losing your best players is always painful, frustrating and disheartening. So it would be a great shame if Sheffield United fans were feeling these emotions on transfer deadline day.
Unfortunately, falling down the echelons of the English game has seen the Blades become a selling club. Promising talents come and go in a flash. And with Nigel Adkins planning to offload in January’s transfer window, any United supporter who has seen potential in Che Adams will be praying he is not one of those leaving Bramall Lane.
Manchester City, Bournemouth and Southampton are rumoured to be in the hunt for Adams, but surely the door is firmly shut. The 19-year-old is learning valuable lessons about being part of a group, and it certainly seems too early for his departure. Despite showing great ability, he is arguably unproven in the third-tier. Anyway, surely this is a transfer window Sheffield United should be utilising; strengthening a squad fighting for promotion.
Producing promising talents and seeing them thrive in the top-flight has become an all too familiar sight. You cringe a little, as a United fan, when watching Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka playing for England, with Kyle Walker staking his claim for a place alongside them. Football doesn’t work like domestic cricket, where you hold on to products of the youth system without a struggle. If you’re not in the Premier League, they’ll most likely jump ship.
Kyle Naughton is another example, and Stephen Quinn, and Harry Maguire. Matt Lowton and Jamie Murphy left for the Championship, and who can blame them really. It’s a player’s prerogative to move up a level, but we seem to let them go without a fight.
In fairness, Nigel Adkins has been vocal during the transfer window, unveiling his plan is to construct a squad of robust individuals, who can each play 40 games a season. Sheffield United have an injury problem. Not a migraine at present, but more a persistent headache, which tends to crop up the night before an exam. Adkins, like few managers before, is getting to the point, admitting the squad has been “bloated” even. It’s refreshing to hear a football manager talking honestly, and not speaking in riddles, even if his plan is slightly too optimistic.
Adams must be part of Adkins’ plans for the future, despite the former Southampton boss depriving the youngster of first-team football of late. Adkins has dealt brilliantly with the talent since arriving in the summer, keeping him hungry and on his toes. Like Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Jose Baxter, Adams is having to work for a place in the starting-11, but you feel the boss has great ambitions for the player. It’s hard to picture him accepting an offer from a Premier League club any time soon, and if he did it would be met with disapproval and outrage amongst supporters.