James McAtee joins club-mate Tommy Doyle in moving to Bramall Lane for the 2022-23, and will help to fill the creativity gap left by the departure of Morgan Gibbs-White.
James McAtee joins club-mate Tommy Doyle in moving to Bramall Lane for the 2022-23, and will help to fill the creativity gap left by the departure of Morgan Gibbs-White, who returned to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of his loan.
The Blades have already signed Reda Khadra from Brighton and Hove Albion to play the No 10 position Gibbs-White filled so successfully last season, albeit he started his debut at Watford on Monday as a centre-forward before moving deeper.
Heckingbottom was critical at the lack of quality service to his strikers as they chased an equaliser in the 1-0 defeat.
"James is a talented player, someone who rated very highly at City and throughout football," said Heckingbottom. "We are excited to get him."
"We know there was a lot of interest in him, we registered ours last year but obviously James wanted to get in the Manchester City squad. As soon as he became available for loan, his agents did a really good job, presented the clubs who were interested and I believe we were the only one in the Championship who he wanted to speak to, among interest from the Premier League and abroad.
"We put our best foot forward, we told James what he can expect from us but likewise what we expect from him and he wanted to come.
"We are grateful to Manchester City, we think we are a good place for young players and comparisons have been drawn, we have huge expectation and a major fanbase."
McAtee made six first-team appearances last season, as well as appearing in the Football League Trophy, where he played against Rotherham United amongst others. His most recent game for the Citizens was March's 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon, where he replaced Bernardo Silva as a half-time substitute.
He is an England international at under-18 and under-20 level, and says the Blades' style of play was part of the attraction.
"I've been building up to a loan for a few years now and I think I'm ready," he said.
"Paul was a lovely guy to meet, he showed me around and made me feel welcome," he said. He was telling me about how he sees me playing and that's how I see it too. The way the Sheffield United play suits me and hopefully I can help with creative options. Manchester City are obviously happy with the club, they want me to get some game time and experience."
Doyle, a slightly deeper midfielder, joined earlier in the window but is yet to make his Blades debut because of injury.