Conor Coady: Sheffield United priced out of transfer ahead of Leicester City switch
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The financial details of Conor Coady’s imminent move to recently-relegated Leicester City have suggested that Sheffield United were priced out of any permanent swoop for their former loan defender ahead of their return to the Premier League next season.
United were understood to have considered a move for the 30-year-old this summer as they looked to kickstart their summer recruitment drive, after he became available when Everton declined to make his loan move to Merseyside permanent.
Boss Paul Heckingbottom refused to play down the reports linking him with a swoop for Coady when questioned earlier this summer but there were question marks over where he would fit in at Bramall Lane, having not played in midfield for some time and with Anel Ahmedhodzic and John Egan established on the right and centre of United’s defence respectively.
And the subsequent revelation that Leicester have agreed to pay Wolves £7.5m for Coady, plus another £1m if they are promoted back to the Premier League, suggests that any interest United may have held in the England international may have been more geared towards a loan move.
A £7.5m upfront investment for a player who turns 31 midway through the season would represent a significant chunk of Heckingbottom’s budget for permanent signings this summer and also not appear to tally with owner Prince Abdullah’s recruitment profile, which has prioritised young players who can improve and also hold re-sale value for the future.
Heckingbottom, however, is understood to have stressed the importance and benefit of experience as well as youth, pointedly referring to the importance of “knowing about the Premier League”, “experience” and “understanding the culture of the club” in welcoming the re-signing of John Fleck and Ben Osborn to one-year deals earlier this week.
The manager also recently warned United that they must soon focus on signing their own young talent on a permanent basis, rather than relying entirely on the loan market. With the majority of his recruitment this summer expected to focus on temporary deals, Heckingbottom is keen to avoid the nightmare scenario of essentially constructing a squad from scratch next summer - when all but two of United’s existing squad, in Rhian Brewster and Ahmedhodzic, are set to become free agents.