Sheffield United takeover: Talks ongoing, but 'it's not moving quickly', says chief executive Stephen Bettis

LOOKING TO SELL: Sheffield Utd chief executive Stephen Bettis (left) and owner Prince Abdullah (ight)
LOOKING TO SELL: Sheffield Utd chief executive Stephen Bettis (left) and owner Prince Abdullah (ight)

The Premier League club was on the market throughout its two-year spell in the Championship, but remains unsold.

Owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad said last month he was hopeful the process would "accelerate soon" but in his annual briefing with members of the local media, Bettis downplayed that suggestion.

"It's not moving quickly, but there are a few interested parties and due diligence has been done and continues to be done (on prospective owners)," he explained. "Discussions are ongoing about their intentions for the club."

With so much work to do, it must throw into doubt the chances of the Blades being able to approach the January transfer window with meaningful firepower if they are embroiled in the expected relegation battle.

Finding the right owner, as opposed to just a different owner, is the primary concern of a fanbase who have seen their club step up to the world's most lucrative domestic football league with a worryingly frugal budget.

That the club entered in discussions with (later) convicted fraudster Henry Mauriss and Dozy Mmobuosi, who was unable to convince the Football League of his suitability, does not inspire confidence.

"They didn't buy the football club because they didn't get there for confidential reasons," stressed Bettis. "We're improving our diligence on prospective owners to get the right person.

"No one really owns a football club, they’re just taking care of it for a period of time and I think he (Prince Abdullah) is mindful of that. He is trying to make sure the right person comes in who's going to take it to the next level and give it the right level of investment to make it a club that sits in the Premier League and until that's found, he'll still be here.

"If you look at where the club's come in the last four or five years, it's moving forward. The facilities are better – the club owns its facilities, it never did before.

"It's in a really good position in that respect and we've got a squad with value in it. It's in a good place."

"I ask the same question at times," said Bettis. "I think it's a great football club with a great fanbase, great supporters, it's got great infrastructure and with some investment you can really drive this football club forward.

"For me it's a great opportunity for somebody to buy a football club and move it on.

"There are people who have been spoken to and when you look at the really good, serious people, you don't hear about the until they want you to.

"Hopefully that does happen and if it doesn't we're still in a really good position with an owner that loves and respects this football club and takes care of it, driving it forward to the best of his ability with the funds available."