Sheffield United have already fought off competition for Harry Maguire from one Premier League club, The Star can reveal, after Hull City insisted they will not increase their valuation of the former England under-21 international.
Maguire, who has been the subject of two failed bids from Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this summer, features on Steve Bruce’s wanted list after impressing for Nigel Clough’s side last term.
However, this newspaper understands that the defender, who has made 166 appearances for the South Yorkshire club since progressing through the ranks three years ago, also attracted Fulham’s interest before the Londoners were relegated to the Championship in May.
Although the exact details of the approach Bramall Lane’s hierarchy received remain a closely guarded secret, it is understood their counterparts at Craven Cottage were prepared to offer a six figure sum for Maguire and another Redtooth Academy graduate.
City, who beat United in the FA Cup semi-finals last season, are thought to be ready to pay nearly £2m to acquire the services of a player who helped their neighbours keep 21 clean sheets during the previous campaign.
But sources at the KC Stadium indicated yesterday that City manager Steve Bruce will not break the impasse surrounding Maguire’s immediate future by significantly improving upon that offer.
Wolves are also yet to return to the negotiating table after seeing their approaches, worth an estimated £1m and £1.5m, rebutted by United who were recently informed by the defender’s representative that his client wanted to postpone talks about signing a new contract.
Clough, capped 14 times by England during a career encompassing clubs such as Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, has made no attempt to disguise the fact he feels Maguire’s development would be best served by spending another 12 months with United.
Although Wolves accept they can not compete financially with City, Kenny Jackett hopes the greater opportunities a move to Molineux potentially offers will persuade Maguire the Black Country is a more desirable destination should he leave United.