Chris Wilder has praised Joe Riley’s loyalty after revealing several Championship clubs tried to hijack his move from Manchester United to Bramall Lane.
Riley, who joined Sheffield United on loan earlier this week, was identified as a potential signing by the League One leaders towards the end of last year before injury delayed his arrival in South Yorkshire.
And, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Gillingham, Wilder confirmed the wing-back turned down approaches from rival teams desperate to exploit the hiatus.
“I know he had a couple of calls from Championship clubs late last week and this week, to try and turn his head,” Wilder, the United manager, said. “But the way the boy is, his mentality, he only wanted to come and join us. We spoke to him, met him, and he wasn’t going to ditch us after he had committed.
“That’s the type of person and player he is, who is highly rated at Manchester United. I have dealt with so many players in my managerial career, who say ‘yes, yes, yes’ but until you get pen on paper you just never know.”
Riley, aged 20, has made two senior appearances for Manchester United and is set to be named in the squad which hosts Adrian Pennock’s side.
“We have bought Joe in during the week, who can play left-back, right-back, numerous positions,” Wilder continued. “We think he will be a good player for us.
“He gives us a boost in January going forward. He’s coming into a new system, every club has their own different ways of playing, but he’s a naturally talented and gifted footballer. We have a network of scouts - who flag the players up - who keep the database up to date, so Joe has been on our radar for quite a while.”
Despite completing deals for Riley, Samir Carruthers and Daniel Lafferty, whose loan from Burnley has been turned into a permanent agreement, Wilder still hopes to make “a couple” of new signings before the end of the month.
United have terminated Harry Chapman’s loan from Middlesbrough after the youngster returned to Teesside for treatment on an ankle problem. But Wilder remains hopeful Chapman will rejoin his squad later this term.
“His loan expired in January,” Wilder said. “We are trying to renegotiate the deal. His rehab is going well, progressing well, it was a big blow in the early part of his career. It’s a difficult one to take because he was becoming an important player for us. We would love to have him back, I think he would give us a big boost if he did return so hopefully we can get that done and sorted-out.”