Sheffield United: Tigers prepare to bare their teeth

Harry Maguire, Jose Baxter and Chris Porter during a training session at Hillsborough Leisure Centre � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Harry Maguire, Jose Baxter and Chris Porter during a training session at Hillsborough Leisure Centre � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Hull City are preparing to submit an increased offer for Harry Maguire as sources close to the KC Stadium claim Steve Bruce, the top-flight club’s manager, is growing increasingly confident of signing the Sheffield United centre-half, writes James Shield.

Although Maguire has stopped short of handing in an official transfer request, his recent statement expressing a desire to play European football, combined with the 21-year-old’s refusal to discuss new terms with Nigel Clough’s side, effectively confirms he wants to end his association with Bramall Lane.

City have previously failed with two bids, believed to both be worth around £1.5m, after Wolverhampton Wanderers sparked the race for Maguire’s services earlier this summer.

The Star understands that Bruce, despite previously indicating he would not revise that valuation, has now received the green light to make a £2m bid with further sums payable should the defender prove a success in East Yorkshire.

Wolves cooled their interest after Richard Stearman, who helped them gain promotion to the Championship three months ago, committed his future to Molineux.

Although Bruce concedes that Maguire, a member of the United team beaten by City in last season’s FA Cup semi-finals, is not ready to perform regularly at Premier League level, Maguire’s presence would help him adhere to Europa League rules demanding participants must include four ‘association trained’ players in their competition squads.

‘Association trained’ players, as opposed to ‘club trained players’, are those who have spent 36 months under the jurisdiction of the relevant domestic governing body.

City qualified for the EL despite being beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup final.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson also features on Bruce’s wanted-list but both he and Dundee United full-back Andy Robertson are proving difficult to lure away from their respective clubs.

Robertson’s situation at Tannadice Park mirrors Maguire’s with the Scottish Premier League outfit unwilling to accept what they believe is a cut-price fee.

United, meanwhile, have announced that tickets for next month’s League One opener against Bristol City will be priced from £18 adults, £10 concessions and £7 juniors and can now be purchased from the box office, by telephone or online.

United have been allocated 1200 terrace places and 300 seats for their friendly at York City on Saturday 2 August.

These must be collected in person beforehand or at Bootham Crescent on the day of the game.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1