Sheffield United: Arsenal set to lodge what they will believe will be the decisive bid for goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale
and live on Freeview channel 276
Officials in north London are confident the offer, which is likely to be in the region of £28m, will be accepted by their counterparts at Bramall Lane after contact was first made between the two parties over a month ago.
Despite falling well short of United’s £40m valuation - a figure they had insisted was non-negotiable - agents acting on Mikel Arteta’s behalf suspect a number of factors, including Ramsdale’s apparent desire to complete the switch, means United could be forced to relent.
Speaking ahead of last weekend’s draw with Swansea City, which saw his side gain their first point of the Championship season after being relegated last term, new United manager Slavisa Jokanovic appeared to concede the 23-year-old had confirmed he wanted to hold face-to-face talks with Arteta - saying he “understands my position” and that “I understand his”.
The latest round of speculation about Ramsdale’s future will be an irritating distraction for United and Jokanovic ahead of tomorrow’s visit to West Bromwich Albion. The match pits them against another team expected to challenge for an immediate return to the top-flight after being demoted in May, with the hosts unbeaten in their first two outings under former Barnsley chief Valerien Ismael.
Despite brokering loan deals for both Ronaldo Vieira and Ben Davies, United have yet to sell one of their first choice players since surrendering their PL status. Although that has been welcomed by most supporters, it is also likely to have placed even greater stress on a budget also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced football to go behind closed doors for the best part of 17 months until social distancing restrictions were eased by the government.
United agreed to AFC Bournemouth’s request for a 10 percent sell-on clause to be inserted into the deal which saw Ramsdale arrive back in South Yorkshire last summer following three seasons in Dorset.
Although the exact details of the contract they brokered remain unknown, it is thought that figure relates to the £16m downpayment they made to trigger his release from the Vitality Stadium rather than the total £18.5m fee published at the time.
If Arsenal’s hunch is correct, and their latest approach lures United to the negotiating table, that would still see make a significant profit on the youngster who was summoned into the England squad which reached the final of this summer’s European Championships.
Capped 15 times by his country at under-21 level, Arsenal’s pitch to Ramsdale’s representatives is certain to have included a reminder that joining one of the biggest names in Europe could increase his chances of being selected by Gareth Southgate when Dean Henderson returns to fitness.
Ramsdale started his career with United, graduating from their Steelphalt Academy youth programme, before joining Bournemouth in 2017. Competing in League One at the time, United went on to win promotion from the third tier later that term before signing Ramsdale when Henderson headed back to Manchester United at the end of the 2019/20 PL campaign.