Sheffield United have consolidated their interest in John Brayford, The Star understands, by asking Cardiff City how much it would cost the sign the former Derby County full-back.
Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Nigel Clough’s counterpart at the Championship club, is set to review Brayford’s situation when City report for pre-season training this week, the defender still faces an uncertain future after being allowed to join United on loan last term.
United, who are also interested in Barnsley’s Chris O’Grady, have made a centre-forward and defender their top prorities in the transfer market following a busy summer which has seen the likes of Marc McNulty, Andy Butler and James Wallace arrive at Bramall Lane.
United have been given little encouragement in their pursuit of Brayford, but their decision not to withdraw from the running altogether suggests there is a slim possibility of brokering a deal.
Clough enjoys a close working relationship with 26-year-old Brayford, having signed him for Burton Albion before resurrecting their partnership during the his reign at the iPro Stadium.
Brayford subsequently joined City in a £1.5 million move two months before Clough parted company with County in September. Speaking after making the first of 20 appearances for United, Brayford dmitted Clough’s presence had convinced him to reject an approach from AFC Bournemouth and drop into League One.
“As soon as I heard Nigel wanted me to come to Sheffield United it was out of the question that I’d knock him back,” Brayford said. “He’s been a massive influence and was the person who gave me an opportunity in the game during his time in charge of Burton. I was never going to turn him down because it was important to say ‘thanks’.”
“I had opportunities to go to teams a division above and, I’m not going to lie, if it had been anyone else asking me to go into League One then I’d have had to give it a lot of thought,” Brayford added. “But it wasn’t. It was Nigel who asked me. Not only is this a chance to play for him again, it’s also at what I’d call a proper, traditional club.”
Although United are not believed to have tabled an official offer for Brayford, they have asked to be kept abreast of any developments regarding his situation despite Solskjaer’s assertion that he remains “part of our football club”.
After only 139 minutes of football at City, Brayford is likely to become impatient should he once again be handed a peripheral role.