Blackpool initially demanded around £1m for Harrison McGahey, The Star understands, despite admitting defeat in their battle to keep him at Bloomfield Road.
Sheffield United had hoped to unveil the teenage defender as their latest new signing earlier this week but, after failing to agree a fee with the Championship club, are now preparing for the matter to go before a Professional Football Compensation Committee (PFCC) tribunal.
Talks between Bramall Lane’s representatives and their counterparts in the North-West were last night thought to be on-going. However, irrespective of the final outcome, Nigel Clough is confident McGahey’s transfer will be completed shortly.
“We’re not far off,” the United manager said. “We’re hoping for something to be concluded soon.”
Despite being widely regarded as one of the Football League’s most promising centre-halves, Clough once again reiterated that McGahey’s imminent arrival is not designed to pave to way for Harry Maguire to depart South Yorkshire.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Hull City have both seen offers, totalling an initial £1m and £1.5m, rejected for the 21-year-old in recent weeks.
Clough, speaking at the Redtooth Academy yesterday, described Maguire’s attitude during training as “absolutely fine.” But he acknowledged United are not ready to resume talks over an improved contract until the end of the transfer window after Maguire’s representative withdrew from the negotiating process.
“Regarding Harry, nothing has changed,” Clough said. “We’ve knocked back a couple of bids and until something else happens then there is no decision to make.
“He’s under contract to us, he gets paid by us and his job is to play football for us when and where we want him to.
“We won’t budge from our valuation, which every single player at every single club has, and neither will we be sharing that with those who have shown an interest.”
McGahey, aged 18, made his senior debut against Burnley in August after arriving at Blackpool following spells with Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool.
Should the PFCC be required to intervene, then they will examine a number of factors, including length of registration and employment terms proposed by all parties concerned, before deciding how much United must pay to acquire the youngster’s services.
Rather than expecting United to meet their asking price, Blackpool’s stance is designed to strengthen their bargaining position, senior figures within the game reported last night.
“Harrison commands compensation because he’s under 24,” Clough explained. “That is always the case.”