Steve McClaren, the Derby County head coach, has dashed Sheffield United’s hopes of signing Mason Bennett on loan.
Nigel Clough, McClaren’s predecessor at the iPro Stadium, revealed he would still attempt to secure the 18-year-old’s services despite seeing a transfer for Bennett’s team mate Kieron Freeman collapse due to a disagreement over personal terms.
However, with County’s hierarchy insisting that United can not take the former England youth international unless Freeman is also part of the package, McClaren last night ruled-out the possibility of Bennett joining the League One club.
“We are disappointed,” he said.
“Sheffield United wanted Mason in a deal with Freeman and we thought that was a good deal for both the players as they would get football.
“They were on their way to Sheffield and all of a sudden they turned up at our training ground having been sent back.
“We are not pleased about that, not pleased at all.
“Kieron, because of personal reasons, but I feel sorry for Mason because he was looking forward to going there on loan and playing.
“We don’t feel as though it has been handled very well.
“I do not know the logistics of it, whether it is Sheffield United, whether it is the player or the player’s agent but the biggest thing is that Mason kind of got messed around.
“So we will have to look again at Mason and where he goes now.”
Clough, who took charge of United in October, acknowledged Freeman’s “unreasonable demands” prompted him to withdraw from the negotiating table following Saturday’s defeat at York City.
Although Clough refused to divulge any more details, The Star understands that a late demand by Freeman and his representaive regarding incremental salary increases was the source of the dispute.
“We’d always take the opportunity to work with Mason again if it ever arose,” Clough, who handed Bennett his senior debut aged just 15, said.
“Whether or not it does I don’t know but we have asked them [County] to keep us informed if there is any movement on their part.
“But as far as Kieron is concerned, no that’s it.”
But, asked whether there was still a possibility of Bennett arriving in South Yorkshire, McClaren said: “No, that’s it. Certainly for Mason.
“It was important for him to go out and play and I have got five or six clubs just waiting to take Mason.
“He would be a great signing for somebody but he is not going to Sheffield United, no.”