Confirmed: Sheffield United have a dossier on Everton player who could become transfer target

Mason Holgate, who appears destined to leave Everton this summer, does feature among a list of players who have been tracked by Sheffield United’s coaching staff in recent seasons.
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The Star can reveal that members of Bramall Lane’s recruitment department, together with Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder, viewed the defender as a potential signing following United’s last promotion from the Championship four years ago.

Although a deal proved impossible to broker then, largely for financial reasons, it appears a dossier has continued to be kept on Holgate’s progress since then given his age and potential.

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Paul Heckingbottom, who led United back into the Premier League last season, was instrumental in Holgate’s development during their spell together at Barnsley. It was there, whilst in charge of Oakwell’s development programme, where Heckingbottom first encountered the player who would later go on to secure a lucrative transfer to Goodison Park and represent England at under-21 level.

Heckingbottom has spoken in the past about how he likes to keep in touch with those whose careers he has helped shape, offering them encouragement and advice on a purely personal level. It seems certain, therefore, that a line of communication still exists between the pair which could prove crucial if Holgate does leave Merseyside ahead of the new campaign.

After slipping down the pecking order at Everton, Heckingbottom’s opposite number there Shaun Dyche could be tempted to allow the 26-year-old to depart - possibly on loan - as he plots his own squad overhaul this summer.

Nottingham Forest are also said to be keen on holding talks with Holgate, should Dyche grant him permission to explore options elsewhere.