United’s director of football David Holdsworth confirmed this week that ‘offers are out’ on a number of players as the work to bring the squad together continues through what is expected to be a busy week.
Speaking specifically about the areas of the pitch being targeted, he said: “Centre half is an area we’ve identified and we’re in talks at the moment with two League One and ex-Championship players. I’m hopeful that one of them will be secured.
“The other one has other options and it might come down to his wife and what she wants to do. Our location isn’t around the corner from where they live, he’s a Yorkshire boy, so we’ll just have to wait and see. We’re in there and competing, without a doubt, so that’s encouraging for us.
“It won’t come down to finances because I’ve matched the other club’s money. It’ll come down to location.”
And looking further up the pitch, he told us: “At the moment it’s about seeing which permanent deals we can get done.
“We think we’ve done a deal for an attacking midfielder, which we hope will be concluded by Wednesday or Thursday, and we’ll be announcing that as soon as it’s finalised. He comes with very good references and he’s one who can play in that number 10 position.”
“I also have a winger and a centre forward under offer,” he revealed. “What I will say is that initially the market moved quickly, and then it slowed right down, but that’s the way it always goes. People tend to start to panic in mid-June, but we’ve taken a wider view of it all.
“The market at the moment is extremely slow, because a lot of people are still away, but we do have the four offers on the table which we’re waiting to hear back on.
“I’m mindful of keeping an eye on the fact players are coming here for the right reasons. We’ve missed out on maybe one or two where we were outpriced, it’s as simple as that, and we should be honest about that. But what we won’t do is pay inflated wages for players who we don’t think are worth it.”
“What I will say is that agents are playing a huge role this summer,” he continued. “They’re becoming more influential on their players, and I won’t say it’s just for money, but it seems that way at times.
“There are a lot of good agents out there, but there are some who are more interested in what they’re getting rather than working out what’s best for their player’s future.
“We do have certain other people we’ve identified if these don’t come through, but we really must not gamble. We can’t afford to gamble. I think a lot of clubs in this division will gamble and they’ll throw silly money at players who may not deliver, but that’s up to them.
“It’s a dangerous game that, it really is, and I’d say there are three or four clubs in the lower leagues who are gambling as we speak. I’m hearing some of the amounts clubs in the conference are giving out and I do feel that’s a dangerous game.
“We know exactly where we are in terms of our finance and we must make sure we’re patient, if necessary, because I’m not going to gamble this summer in terms of over-paying somebody just for the sake of it.
“If it’s a special player, or a younger player, perhaps, or possibly a proven goal scorer who invariably would be a player we’d want to go for then yes, we may take a risk in that way.
“It certainly wouldn’t be a gamble, it would be a calculated signing if we’re going to go down that route. At the moment I don’t know that there’s too many League Two players who are that special to throw stupid money at.”
And on the recruitment policy set by manager Steven Pressley, he explained: “Steven identified areas he felt were key to improving the club for next season, and the first part of that was deciding who he wanted to put on the retained list.
“We then talked about the criteria Steven felt would be an asset going forward, and that’s been key to the type of player we’ve been looking at. The four new signings we’ve added so far are good lads and they want to be here.
“With all of them we want lads of the right age, whatever that may be, and who want to test themselves and show everybody what they can do. Height, strength, pace and youth are the qualities we keep talking about, but these four lads are all different characters.
“One thing that Steven has put in place, and it’s actually made his life quite hard, is that he’s been interviewing each player himself. I like that, I really do.
“He’s taken a lot of time and effort to do that, but it’s a good policy to see first-hand and get to know the type of character you’re dealing with.
“When you look at other clubs who have been successful recently they have youth and energy in key positions. That’s what we’re looking for, players who represent value for money and who will fit into what we’re looking to build.”