You need three things to keep a transfer saga bubbling for as long as Sheffield United and Chris O’Grady;-
n Definite interest
n Belief you can compete on fee and wages
n Willingness from the player to consider the move
And of those three, the third is the most important. It’s the base of a transfer triangle. Take it away and the whole thing collapses.
Which is why I believe the prospect of Barnsley’s top player moving to Bramall Lane has outlasted the four weeks since this column first suggested it. And why the so called “impossible deal” could yet happen.
Let’s not be naive. The football grapevine is such that all transfer targets get to hear of interested clubs at an early stage, usually much earlier than you or I.
Agents are at work and, of course, it’s important for the chasing club to know whether their designs on said player would be reciprocated. If not, move on down the hit list.
So I’d be amazed if O’Grady hasn’t been aware of United’s presence in the field for some time – and quite probably before he went to London for talks on a £500,000 switch to Charlton. Was it a factor in his decision to say no?
Eyebrows continue to be raised in that Charlton are in the Championship whereas leaving Oakwell for the Lane could be seen as standing still, at least in divisional terms.
But let’s not forget where, apart from spells at Oldham and Rochdale, the former Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday striker has played most of his football and where he prefers to live. Or the widespread belief that Nigel Clough has built a promotion-winning squad.
Yes, Barnsley would much prefer the 28-year-old had joined Charlton. Yes, they’d rate S2 as the least desirable destination. Yes, they’d be looking to add a “premium” to the fee as they have warned – but that’s only possible if there are other bids.
After that it’s about sticking or twisting. Keeping O’Grady on a decreasing value for the last year of his contract and on wages that would break the budget. Or taking what you can get.
Here we return to the player’s stance. O’Grady is no boat-rocker as he showed in the dignified way he reacted to being frozen out – foolishly in my view – by Wednesday. Indeed, this would be one of the attractions for Clough.
He’ll give his absolute best for whoever pays his wages and right now that is Barnsley. But you can only imagine he would be receptive if, amid talks, the clubs formalised any private agreement.
And, for all the doubts over the Blades satisfying a player currently on £7,000 a week, there seems to be too much of a will for there not to be a way.