Everton’s David Weir was last night understood to be locked in talks with Sheffield United about the managerial vacancy at Bramall Lane.
The former Scotland international is believed to have met with members of Bramall Lane’s hierarchy earlier this week after expressing an interest inthe role last month.
Keith Curle and Michael Appleton were also interviewed by United’s three man selection panel at a top secret location in Mayfair, London, onThursday.
But Weir, who is now in charge of the Premier League club’s reserve team, has emerged as the leading contender with sources close to Goodison Park claiming negotiations about succeeding Danny Wilson are now at an advanced stage.
The 43-year-old spent four weeks training with United during Wilson’s first season in charge of United 17 months ago before returning to take up his present position in the North-West.
Although Roberto Martinez, who recently took charge of Everton following David Moyes’ departure, is keen on retaining his services, Weir hasmade no secret of his desire to enter management.
Indeed, he discussed replacing Moyes at the helm with owner Bill Kenwright before Martinez’s appointment.
Senior figures at United, including chief executive Julian Winter, have spent the past 72 hours attending the Football League’s summer conference in Portugal.
But with delegates having now left the Tivoli Marina Hotel, Vilamoura, discussions aimed at unveiling Wilson’s replacement are expected togather pace this morning.
United received a flurry of late applications in the position which became vacant when Danny Wilson was relieved of his duties 60 days ago.
Despite reports to the contrary, former Chelsea and West Ham chief Avram Grant did not explore the possibility of moving to South Yorkshire.
Grant, aged 58, parted company with Partizan Belgrade in May last year after leading them to a fifth consecutive Serbian SuperLiga title.
Curle, previously of Notts County, former Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers’ manager Michael Appleton and Port Vale coach Robert Page are known to have impressed United with their presentations about exploiting the first team squad’s resources while Rob Scott and Paul Hurst also boast admirers behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.
However, it remains unclear whether the Grimsby Town duo have actually held face to face negotiations with United directors at any stage.
Chris Morgan, who took over the United reins on a temporary basis when Wilson was relieved of his duties 60 days ago, was recently granted an opportunity to stake his claim for the role and could yet be offered the chance to join a revamped management team.
Weir, who started his career at Falkirk before joining Hearts and Everton, also boasts Champions League experience with Glasgow Rangers.
In 2011, soon after becoming the third oldest player to appear in the tournament, he was inducted into Ibrox’s Hall of Fame.