Sheffield United: Blades keen on former Wednesday striker Clarke

Leon Clarke is on Sheffield United's radar
Leon Clarke is on Sheffield United's radar

Sheffield United are monitoring Bury’s Leon Clarke as Chris Wilder attempts to bolster their attacking options.

Clarke, who could be allowed to leave David Flitcroft’s side as part of a belt-tightening exercise at Gigg Lane, represented the League One club’s arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday earlier in his career and scored 18 goals last term.

Wilder, whose teenage prospect Dominic Calvert-Lewin is understood to have been the subject of a failed bid from Everton last week, has made no secret of his desire to recruit a “physical centre-forward” ahead of the new season.

Acknowledging that “several possibilities” were identified during a recent brain-storming session, Wilder told The Star: “Everybody knows that we’re looking for a powerful striker, just something a little different to what we’ve already got,” Wilder said. “There’s a list of names and, yes, some of those we’ve looked at a little bit more than others. But that’s all they are at the moment; names on a list.”

With Marc McNulty, Matt Done, Che Adams and Calvert-Lewin all vying to partner new captain Billy Sharp, United are not short of goalscorers. But Wilder, having released 10 and transfer listed another seven members of the squad he inherited from Nigel Adkins two months ago, believes a vacancy exists for an old fashioned targetman so “we can mix things up a bit and adapt if required.”

“Ideally, we’d like a big strong lad, who knows the league and has proved he can get goals in it,” Wilder added. “But, like I say, there might be some who don’t fit all of those criteria but who we think can still do the job.”

United, who signed Clarke’s former team mate Chris Hussey for an undisclosed sum soon after Wilder’s arrival, returned from warm-weather training in La Manga on Friday evening and continue their pre-season preparations at Halifax Town tomorrow. (Kick-off 7.45pm). Calvert-Lewin is set to travel after Bramall Lane’s hierarchy turned down Everton’s offer during the visit to Spain. But United will not be pursuing their interest in Brighton and Hove Albion’s Jake Forster-Caskey after unveiling former Coventry City midfielder John Fleck.

“I’ve made it clear that people are always going to be interested in good players and Dom is a good young player,” Wilder said. “But, I’ve got to say, Dom has been excellent and just got on with his job exactly as you should do.”