Sheffield United: No respite for Southend as Blades remain in the hunt for Ryan Leonard

Southend's Ryan Leonard is a wanted man
Southend's Ryan Leonard is a wanted man

Southend have been told their captain Ryan Leonard remains a Sheffield United target despite John Lundstram’s move to Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder, the Championship club’s manager, has made no secret of his desire to sign the 25-year-old after seeing two bids rejected earlier this summer.

Lundstram’s arrival in South Yorkshire before Tuesday’s friendly against Stoke City appeared to signal the end of Wilder’s interest but Alan Knill, United’s assistant manager, has confirmed Leonard still features on their wanted list.

“It’s still there, it’s still ongoing,” he explained. “Where we are exactly with things, I’m not sure to be honest. But it’s still on our agenda, yes.”

United’s attempts to prise Leonard away from Roots Hall, coupled with the decision to acquire Lundstram, stem from Wilder’s belief they require more competition and cover in central areas to compete effectively on the higher stage. Paul Coutts and John Fleck impressed as United won last season’s League One title but, until Lundstram left Oxford, both were virtually assured of a place in Wilder’s starting eleven.

Leonard was named as Southend’s player of the season last term and is keen on discussing a move to South Yorkshire.

Sheffield United played Stoke City on Tuesday evening: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United played Stoke City on Tuesday evening: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“You want people pushing all the time,” Knill continued. “You want that competition and ability to change things around if required.”

Billy Sharp scored United's opening goal against Stoke City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Billy Sharp scored United's opening goal against Stoke City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage