Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has defended the club’s decision to sell promising young goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in the January transfer window.
The Academy player joined Premier League side AFC Bournemouth in a £1m-plus deal and follows the Blades’ decision to cash in on youngsters Che Adams (Birmingham City) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) earlier in the season.
Ramsdale’s departure has raised some fears United are selling their best Academy talent, but Wilder believes it is good business for an 18-year-old goalkeeper who has made just two appearances in his career.
“There’s been no gun put to my head in terms of moving players on,” said Wilder. “But we’re still a League One club.
“We’ve been in this league for five years now, quite a long time. We are where we are. I don’t know many non-selling clubs. You have to make decisions and there are always a lot of people involved in them.
“I’ve got no qualms about Aaron. Nobody has got a crystal ball. You can hang fire, hang fire, hang fire and then they don’t develop.
“We still want to get to where we want to be in a sustainable fashion. But I’ve not lost (John) Fleck, I’ve not lost (Paul) Coutts, I’ve not lost Billy (Sharp), Simon Moore or Mark Duffy.
“I’ve lost a young goalkeeper with potential and we’ve decided, with everything that goes with it, that this is a very good deal for the football club. Sometimes we have to make these decisions.”
Many Blades fans still recall how the club sold strikers Brian Deane and Jan Age Fjortoft mid-season in 1998, undermining United’s push for promotion to the Premier League.
But Wilder insisted: “What’s happened in the past isn’t what’s happening now. Trust me, I know because I’ve been a part of this club and I’ve been dismayed by some of the departures, before coming in, at times.
“I don’t look at it like we’re losing Deane and Fjortoft. This is different. People have bought potential and they’ve paid for that potential. This isn’t a boom and bust club anymore.
“Our academy produces players for our first team and also players who move on to other clubs. Maybe if we were in the Championship or the Premier League, then we’d have a different decision to make.”