Sheffield United: Blades step-up the heat in transfer chase

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (left) and his assistant Alan Knill
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (left) and his assistant Alan Knill
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Sheffield United will not be coerced into abandoning their pursuit of transfer targets such as Ricky Holmes and Ryan Leonard, Chris Wilder has confirmed.

But Wilder, who has signed Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas and Enda Stevens since steering the club to promotion, is adamant he is prepared to look elsewhere if negotiations threaten to delay his summer recruitment drive.

Although the United manager has refused to divulge the names on Bramall Lane’s wish-list, The Star revealed earlier this summer that Holmes, Charlton Athletic’s reigning player of the season, has been the subject of an undisclosed offer while Southend midfielder Leonard is also attracting interest from the League One champions.

“It’s initial bids,” Wilder said. “There’s always a bit of to’ing and fro’ing. It won’t drag out all the way through the summer. People are away.

“We have to speak to managers and we have to speak to owners. We have our valuation. Other clubs will have their valuation of players. If we can get those two close then, hopefully, it will get done.”

Holmes, who worked with Wilder at his previous club Northampton Town, has been described as “not for sale” by Athletic and, like Leonard, could be offered a new contract if he stays. Leonard, who is also being monitored by Millwall, is thought to be disappointed by Southend’s hardline stance after seeing two approaches rebutted by Roots Hall’s hierarchy.

“If we’ve got a player that we didn’t want to lose, we’d look to get a decent price,” Wilder said. “Possibly they don’t want to lose these players. We’ll see.”