Sheffield United: The fresh twist in the battle to secure promising young defender's services

Sheffield United’s interest in signing defender Dion Sanderson on a permanent basis appears to be waning, after Wolverhampton Wanderers suggested they have not given up hope of persuading the youngster to remain at Molineux.

By James Shield
Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:10 pm

Sanderson’s name is understood to have featured on a list of players being monitored by Bramall Lane’s recruitment department presented to Jokanovic before his official unveiling on Friday evening, with reports suggesting a bid for the centre-half was imminent.

However, with Newcastle and Sunderland the only two clubs to submit concrete offers so far this summer, United’s refusal to enter the race for Sanderson’s services suggests the Serb has compiled a list of alternatives as United seek to replace Phil Jagielka and Jack O’Connell, whose injured knee is unlikely to heal before the start of the new season.

Sanderson, who spent last term on loan at the Stadium of Light, looked set to depart when he rejected Wolves’ offer of a new contract. However, in a fresh twist, officials there claimed last week that they are still determined to retain his services with further talks thought to be scheduled.

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Sanderson will miss the start of Wolves’ warm-up programme as he continues to receive treatment for the back problem which ruled him out of Sunderland’s League One play-off games.

Neither they nor Newcastle, who view him as a player to be developed rather than immediate first team prospect, have yet to meet Wolves’ valuation.

Intriguingly, if he does agree to remain in the Midlands, Sanderson could be allowed to again depart on loan to continue his footballing education - this time in the Championship.

With United being relegated from the Premier League three months ago, that could see them again emerge as a possible destination for Sanderson, whose aunt is former Olympian Tessa Sanderson.

Some new defenders will be on their way to Bramall Lane next season: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Although bolstering their midfield is United’s most pressing concern during the transfer window, the departure of Jagielka and O’Connell’s on-going fitness issues mean Jokanovic also needs to bolster his rearguard before the deadline.

Another centre-half, former Manchester City prospect Kean Bryan, could also move on after failing to accept the contract United tabled with his representative before Jokanovic’s arrival.