Sheffield United: Fresh twist in transfer battle

Sheffield United's Nigel Clough and Kenny Jackett of Wolves last season
Sheffield United's Nigel Clough and Kenny Jackett of Wolves last season
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Wolverhampton Wanderers are ready to admit defeat in their bid to sign Harry Maguire, writes James Shield.

The Sheffield United centre-half has been the subject of two failed bids from the Championship club after impressing for Nigel Clough’s side last term.

But with Hull City also known to be among the 21-year-old’s admirers, sources at Molineux last night confirmed that Kenny Jackett, Clough’s counterpart in the Black Country, is now actively pursuing other lines of enquiry in the transfer market.

West Ham’s Jordan Spence, who has previously represented the likes of Bristol City and Sheffield Wednesday on loan, could emerge as his number one target should Wolves decide to withdraw from the race to capture Maguire.

As The Star revealed earlier this month, United have so far received two offers, worth £1m and £1.5m, for Bramall Lane’s reigning player of the year although both were rejected after failing to meet their valuation.

Maguire recently informed United that he does not want to discuss the prospect of agreeing a new contract - his present deal expires next summer - until the outcome of a long-running saga which could force Clough to revise their recruitment plans is resolved.

Despite bolstering his defensive options when Andy Butler was officially unveiled on Tuesday afternoon, Clough dismissed suggestions the former Walsall replacement should be viewed as a direct replacement for Maguire by acknowledging he would prefer to enter the new season with at least three centre-halves capable of performing regularly at League One level.

United would be entitled to compensation should Maguire, who has made 166 appearances and scored 12 goals since graduating from their youth academy, depart as a free agent.

Although Jackett has yet to officially call time on his interest, the Wolves manager is described as “pessimistic” about their prospects of securing Maguire after it emerged City are also in the hunt.

Clough has made no secret of the fact he believed the former England under-21 international would be best served by remaining in South Yorkshire for at least another 12 months.

However, the lure of top-flight and European football is likely to prove difficult for Maguire to resist when City make an approach.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1