Sheffield United players with nine promotions between them given their chance to say goodbyes against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday

Sheffield United have confirmed the departure of three of the stars of their ninth-place Premier League finish, along with two important figures from last season's promotion.

With their season ongoing, the Blades are yet to confirm their retained list, but Sunday's Premier League home match against Tottenham Hotspur will be a farewell for Chris Basham, George Baldock, Oliver Norwood, Wes Foderingham and Max Lowe.

The decision to release the first three in particular – stalwarts of manager Chris Wilder's first spell as manager – underlines the determination to rebuild the squad along younger lines in the summer after years of under-investment have caught up with the club in a dismal season which has seen them finish bottom of the Premier League.

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Between them, the five have won nine promotions at Bramall Lane.

GOODBYE:. Oliver Norwood (far left) is leaving but Sheffield United still hope to keep the versatile Ben Osborn (centre)GOODBYE:. Oliver Norwood (far left) is leaving but Sheffield United still hope to keep the versatile Ben Osborn (centre)
GOODBYE:. Oliver Norwood (far left) is leaving but Sheffield United still hope to keep the versatile Ben Osborn (centre)

Norwood's departure had been trailed in advance and Baldock is expected to join Panathinaikos on a free transfer this summer.

Basham's season was ended by a broken ankle suffered at Fulham in early October. It was a huge blow to the recently-appointed vice-captain, and to the Blades, who lost captain John Egan to a season-ending injury in the previous game.

Basham was a player Wilder inherited, having joined from Blackpool in 2014, and his conversion from a midfielder into an overlapping centre-back was instrumental in the Blades' rise from League One to the top half of the Premier League in 2020.

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The now-35-year-old was marginalised by the signing of Anel Ahmedhodzic in the summer of 2022, but remained a hugely influential figure in the dressing room.

Baldock joined the journey when the Blades were in the Championship in 2017, and was the regular right wing-back in the team's rise, surprisingly breaking into the Greek national team along the way via his family heritage.

But injury problems, mainly to his calf, have caught up with him in recent years, limiting him to 68 league starts in the last three seasons.

Jayden Bogle has usurped him as the first-choice right wing-back but he too is out of contract this summer.

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Norwood joined with a reputation as a Championship promotion expert in 2018 and enhanced it, taking the club into the Premier League in his first season.

He was the undisputed first-choice as holding midfield and deep-lying creator until the on-loan Tommy Doyle leapfrogged him during last season's run-in as the Blades closed in on promotion back to the top-flight.

He has made just 16 league starts this season, two since January, but scored the stoppage-time penalty which brought their first win of the campaign, at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Foderingham and Lowe joined in the summer of 2020 as the club looked to build on their ninth-placed finish in the Premier League, but were instead relegated.

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Foderingham has re-established himself as first-choice goalkeeper after the January signing of Ivo Grbic.

Initially it seemed Grbic's arrival would end Foderingham's Baldes career then, but a concussion injury to Grbic two days before the transfer deadline stopped him being loaned out.

Grbic's form has seen Foderingham return to the team but he turned down the club's contract offer in the first half of the season, and the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement since.

Lowe was signed with Bogle four years ago but only made 34 league starts for the club. He spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Nottingham Forest, who won promotion via the play-offs at the Blades' expense but returned to play in 26 of last season's matches at left wing-back.

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He returned from ankle surgery to feature as a substitute at Everton on Saturday.

Although it seems highly unlikely Basham will be fit enough to make it onto the field, the early announcement gives the opportunity for fans to thank all five for their service at the weekend.

Other key figures, such as Egan, Ben Osborn and Oli McBurnie are also out of contract in the summer, although Wilder has gone public with his determination to keep the latter pair, and Egan was one of their best players before his injury.

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