Sheffield United: Blades identify fresh transfer targets as goalkeeper leaves on loan

George Long trains with Sheffield United before his move to AFC Wimbledon: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
George Long trains with Sheffield United before his move to AFC Wimbledon: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United will intensify their search for a new goalkeeper after allowing George Long to join AFC Wimbledon on loan.

Chris Wilder, who is monitoring centre-half Darragh Lenihan as he bids to strengthen the Championship club’s defence, sanctioned Long’s departure following talks with the 23-year-old over the weekend.

George Long will spend next season in London

George Long will spend next season in London

United, who are believed to have made contact with Blackburn Rovers to ascertain Lenihan’s valuation, expect to sign a replacement for Long before the 2017/18 season begins next month.

Despite predicting the youngster will return “an even better goalkeeper” following his spell in the capital, Wilder acknowledges his exit means identifying an experienced understudy for Simon Moore is now a priority in the transfer market. Another, bolstering United’s options at centre-half, have prompted his negotiators to consider Lenihan although Mike Williamson, who left Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this summer, is not an option despite reports to the contrary. Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Williamson’s former team mate at Molineux, remains a potential signing after spending last term on loan at Bramall Lane. Wilder confirmed United had “held conversations” with Wolves about the 24-year-old following his return to the Black Country.

Charlton Athletic’s Ricky Holmes still features on Wilder’s wanted-list after so-far failing to accept the new contract he has been offered at The Valley.

George Long signed a two year contract at the start of last season

George Long signed a two year contract at the start of last season

George Long started the first four matches of the season before being replaced by Simon Moore

George Long started the first four matches of the season before being replaced by Simon Moore