James McAtee signing doesn’t mean Sander Berge is leaving insists Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom says the loan signing of James McAtee does not pave the way for Sander Berge to leave Sheffield United, but it has ended their recruitment drive - at least for now.

Manchester City playmaker McAtee chose to join club-mate Tommy Doyle at Bramall Lane when manager Heckingbottom challenged the 19-year-old to prove he could fulfil the potential his parent club see in him.

But in a frugal summer of only one transfer fee paid (for Anel Ahmedhodzic) which has ended with an overcrowded treatment room, Heckingbottom says the search for new signings is over. A sale - with Berge the prime candidate - could always change that.

Heckingbottom was interested in McAtee last season and relieved to finally get him yesterday.

No deal: Sheffield United's Sander Berge has been linked with a move away from Bramall Lane all summer. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“We made sure the relevant people knew there was interest but he was focused on getting into the Manchester City squad,” he recalled. “(This summer) we were up against stiff competition - Premier League clubs and big teams from abroad. I also flipped it and spoke to him about the challenge of coming here.

“He has to impact the Championship against some great players doing everything to stop him. He’s not at City where he’s going to have 70 percent possession.

“We want to get him on the ball higher up the pitch. If we can do that, then he’s got the quality and the calmness to produce.

“James has been training all summer but he’s had 20 minutes of football.”

Done deals: Paul Heckingbottom says Sheffield United's transfer business is done for now. Picture: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

Berge has played McAtee’s preferred No 10 role many times, but is capable of any midfield job.

“They are different players,” stressed Heckingbottom. “We moved him (Berge) higher up last season because of where we found ourselves with players.”

Enda Stevens picked up a calf injury on Monday to add to the problems Doyle, Chris Basham, Oli McBurnie and Jayden Bogle are now returning to training from. Jack Robinson and Adam Davies have damaged medial knee ligaments and Billy Sharp and Rhian Brewster were only deemed fit enough for substitute appearances at Watford.

Even so, the transfer market will not be the solution.

“At the minute, we are done and happy,” declared Heckingbottom. “Our priority now is getting boys back on the pitch.

“I’d love to bring a wing-back in but I can’t do.”