Sheffield United hope to complete the signing of Enda Stevens this week following a fresh round of talks with the Portsmouth defender and his representative.
The Star understands that Stevens, whose contract at Fratton Park is about to expire, has set his heart on a move to Bramall Lane after two seasons with the south coast club.
Although discussions have been complicated by the fact Paul Cook, Chris Wilder’s counterpart in Hampshire, does not want to lose the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international, United’s transfer negotiators are believed to be on the verge of completing a deal.
Barring an unforeseen complications, Stevens is poised to become Wilder’s second acquisition since guiding his team to the League One title following Ched Evans’ arrival seven days ago. The two men previously worked together at Northampton Town.
“I’m not going to comment on any players until they are in the building and wearing a red and white shirt,” Wilder, pointedly refusing to distance himself from reports linking Stevens with United, said. “There are, of course, areas where we want to strengthen and positions where we want a little bit more competition. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
United have also made an approach for Nathan Thomas but will refuse to be drawn into a bidding war with Middlesbrough over the Hartlepool winger.
Wilder also remains interested in working again with Manchester United youngster Joe Riley, whose loan was cut short by injury earlier this year.
“Ideally, we want to get things done as quickly as we can,” Wilder said. “But there are always things that you want to keep your powder dry on and take a bit of time.”