Nigel Clough has thrust the ball back into Harry Maguire’s court as the battle for Sheffield United’s reigning Player of the Year intensifies.
Clough, the United manager, extended Maguire an olive branch by revealing Bramall Lane’s hierarchy are ready to reopen talks about an improved contract despite being informed by the defender’s representative that his client wanted to postpone talks about a new deal amid interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Hull City.
But Clough, who has repeatedly insisted Maguire’s career would be best served by spending at least another season in South Yorkshire, insisted those discussions would only resume if the former England under-21 international gave the green light.
The Star understands that United have turned down three bids for Maguire, at least two of which emanated from Molineux, since last season.
Clough said: “As far as we are concerned, nothing has changed. If we get a bid that means we can strengthen two or three positions then it’s something, of course, we would have to seriously consider, but that’s not happened and we also want Harry to stay.
“If it doesn’t happen then the situation remains the same and Harry will start the season with us. The offer will still be there and we are happy to talk about it again if that’s the case or he decides that’s what he wants.
“But the decision (to resume negotiations) will have to come from his side, not us, because they were the ones who made it (to postone talks).”
Sources close to the KC Stadium confirmed last week that Maguire’s situation has been discussed at boardroom level after Wolves saw offers totalling £1 million and £1.5m rejected earlier this month.
Clough, who has been linked with Barnsley centre-forward Chris O’ Grady and Harrison McGahey of Blackpool after unveiling James Wallace as his latest signing on Friday, added: “We have tried to be as clear as possible about the situation out of respect for our supporters.
“We’ve brought in Andy Butler and have been made aware of Harrison’s contractual situation. Made aware. We haven’t involved ourselves.
“But it would be a mistake to think we view those as replacements for Harry. That’s not the case.”