Doncaster Rovers, who make a loss of more than £1.5 million a year, have stunned the Championship by rejecting a bid of £2.8m for former Blade Billy Sharp.
The offer, possibly from Ipswich Town, is the second time this summer Rovers have fended off interest in their Sheffield-born Player of the Year.
Rovers have already rejected a joint bid in the region of £2.6m from Ipswich for Sharp and midfielder James Coppinger.
And it comes days after chairman John Ryan revealed Rovers operate at a loss in excess of £1.5m per year. With season ticket sales more than 2,000 behind last year’s total of 6,018, Ryan still feels he can rebuff the attentions of another club.
Sharp scored twice in a 3-2 defeat at Ipswich in January and while there’s no certainty that it is the Suffolk club who have made an improved offer for the 25-year-old, the Tractor Boys could soon have money to spend after Sunderland bid £8m for teenage centre-forward Connor Wickham.
Another suitor could be Southampton’s Nigel Adkins. He was in charge at Scunthorpe United when Sharp scored 53 goals in a two-year spell. The Saints have ambitions to build on last season’s promotion and may lose 17-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a big fee to a Premier League club.
Sharp, who signed for £1.1m from Sheffield United in July 2010, scored 16 goals last term.
He was on loan at the Keepmoat stadium the season before.
Ryan is in no hurry to offload any of his squad and The Star understands it may take an offer of Premier League proportions to tempt him.
Matthew Bell, editor of Sheffield United fanzine Flashing Blade, commented: “It’s always good to see players who have come through the ranks at United doing well.
“I think Billy’s problem with us was perhaps that, as a supporter of the club, he tried too hard at times.”