Sheffield United remain hopeful that Conor Coady and John Brayford could return to Bramall Lane next season despite facing competition from a host of Championship clubs.
Managing director Mal Brannigan told The Star that Nigel Clough, who unveiled Andy Butler and Chris Basham as his latest new signings last week, hopes to complete the majority of his business in the transfer market before United’s first-team squad resume training next month.
However, Brannigan’s acknowledgement that “meaningful discussions” have yet to take place with the duo’s employers indicates Clough is prepared to bide his time in order to reach agreement with Liverpool and Cardiff City respectively.
“Both are still with their parent clubs and we would be interested in both if the potential to do something is there,” Brannigan said. “We’ve not had any meaningful discussions yet but the season, for those clubs, has only just finished. It might be the case that, with regards to Conor and John, something happens late in the (transfer) window.”
Coady, aged 21, made 50 appearances and scored six goals for United after leaving Anfield while Brayford, who had been declared surplus to requirements by City’s then-manager, Malky Mackay, emerged as an influential figure in their march to the semi-finals of theFA Cup.
Brayford is thought to have grown increasingly disillusioned about his prospects in the principality.
Clough has expressed fears that United could be priced out of the market if Solksjaer decides to try to recoup some of the £1.75 million City paid to acquire Brayford’s services 12 months ago while Coady is known to interest Wolverhampton Wanderers.
A number of performance-related clause, potentially worth another £500,000, were inserted into the deal which took Brayford to South Wales.