Sheffield United: Wolves and Tigers dig-in over Harry

Steve Bruce appears in no hurry to force through a deal for Harry Maguire by tabling an improved offer
Steve Bruce appears in no hurry to force through a deal for Harry Maguire by tabling an improved offer
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The battle for Harry Maguire appeared to have reached a crossroads last night with both Hull City and Wolverhampton Wanderers insisting they will not increase their valuations of the Sheffield United defender, writes James Shield.

Maguire, who has also been offered significantly improved terms by the League One club’s hierarchy, informed manager Nigel Clough that he wants to postpone discussions about a new contract after Wolves failed with bids, worth an estimated £1m and £1.5m, earlier this month.

As The Star revealed yesterday, City have assembled a £2m package in an attempt to lure the former England under-21 international away from Bramall Lane.

But, with sources at the KC Stadium claiming that United are demanding nearly double that amount for a player who has made 165 starts since graduating through their youth system three years ago, the situation appears to have reached stalemate with neither Steve Bruce or Kenny Jackett, his counterpart at Molineux, prepared to up the ante for the time being at least.

Clough, speaking after Maguire’s representative withdrew from negotiations aimed at extending his deal with United, acknowledged United’s bargaining position has been strengthened by the fact they would be entitled to compensation should he depart as a free agent next summer.

City’s intransigence is based upon the fact they do not want to pay an inflated sum for a centre-half Bruce initially views as a squad rather than first team option ahead of the forthcoming Premier and Europa League campaigns.

Wolves have adopted a similarly relaxed approach after Richard Stearman, an influential member of the side which gained promotion to the Championship last season, signed a fresh agreement running until 2016.

“There was never any doubt from me about wanting to stay here,” Stearman said. “I was able to speak to other parties, but once the gaffer had initiated he wanted me to stay, I was always more than willing.

“I’ve been delighted with how things have gone over the last season and am delighted to still be here.”

Maguire was named United’s player of the year after helping the FA Cup semi-finalists keep 21 clean sheets en route to a seventh placed finish in the table despite winning only two of their opening 14 fixtures before Clough’s appointment in October.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1