Sheffield United could attempt to sign Chris O’Grady on a permanent basis, The Star can reveal, despite his shock return to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sources at Bramall Lane and the AMEX Stadium confirmed last night that the centre-forward had been the subject of protracted talks involving representatives of both teams before being recalled by Albion caretaker Nathan Jones following an injury to fellow loanee Darren Bent on Monday.
A transfer involving an undisclosed sum is thought to have been among those proposals under discussion.
But Nigel Clough, the United manager, still hopes O’Grady will finish the season in South Yorkshire providing Chris Hughton, who is expected to take charge of the Championship club this week, does not view him as an integral part of their plans.
Explaining his decision to summon O’Grady back to Albion ahead of Monday’s 2-0 victory over Fulham, Jones said: “When Benty was injured we made enquiries to bring Chris back to give us a little bit of presence, a little bit of firepower. I thought he was excellent when he came on.
“We asked him to do something and he did it. He won every header, he got us up the pitch, he was strong, a real physical presence and had a hand in the second goal as well.”
O’Grady endured a miserable start to his Albion career under Jones’ predecessor Sami Hyypia before being allowed to sign a temporary agreement with Clough’s squad. Having scored once in four appearances, the possibility of a permanent switch to United is believed to have been discussed before Jones’ intervention although another loan remains more likely.
Meanwhile, United have been fined £4,000 by the Football Association for failing to control officials during their 1-0 win over Southampton in the Capital One Cup.
They face Tottenham Hotspur over two legs next month for the right to face either Liverpool or Chelsea in the final.