Signing Harry Maguire is not Hull City’s immediate priority in the transfer market, it emerged last night, after the Premier League club distanced themselves from reports they have submitted an official bid for the Sheffield United centre-half, writes James Shield.
Instead, sources close to the KC Stadium have told The Star that tempting Joleon Lescott to East Yorkshire remains the number one item on Steve Bruce’s in-tray rather than reaching an agreement to capture United’s reigning player of the year.
Maguire, who made 50 starts for Nigel Clough’s side last season, has emerged as one of the most sought after defender’s in the third tier of English football after Wolverhampton Wanderers saw two offers rejected by Bramall Lane’s hierarchy earlier this month.
Bruce dispatched scouts to watch Maguire, who has also represented England at under-21 level, on numerous occasions before the two team’s met in the semi-finals of the FA Cup nearly 10 weeks ago and views the youngster as potential solution to the problems caused by a fixture calendar which will see City compete on four fronts next term.
However, despite acknowledging Maguire’s potential, City are not believed to have discussed the impasse surrounding his contract with United during a recent meeting between Bruce’s coaching department and members of their board.
But City will continue to monitor Maguire’s situation while pursuing their interest in Lescott who is surplus to requirements at Manchester City.
News that Bruce is happy to bide his time will encourage both Wolves, who have identified a series of alternative targets, and United as the battle for Maguire enters a potentially critical phase.
Clough recently repeated his claim that the 21-year-old’s career would be best served by remaining in South Yorkshire for at least another 12 months before reviewing his options again at the end of the forthcoming League One campaign.
Wolves are understood to be ready to pay around £1.5m to acquire Maguire despite seeing Richard Stearman commit his future to Molineux.
Having stressed they are under no financial pressure to part company with a player whose present deal expires next summer, United will refuse to budge unless a bid which matches their valuation is made, even though Maguire’s representative has informed them his client does not want to discuss fresh terms at this point in time.