Speaking ahead of tonight’s visit to Preston North End, Paul Heckingbottom told The Star that both Olsen and his parent club want to push the deal through. But, revealing he has also drawn-up a list of targets at centre-half after John Souttar decided against a switch to Bramall Lane, the United manager reiterated he will only sanction Olsen’s departure when a replacement is sourced. Frank Fielding of Stoke City is one possible option.
“I’ll not elaborate too much on what has been said,” Heckingbottom insisted, referring to his talks with Olsen and officials at the Stadio Olimpico. “But yes, there’s a desire from them to see it happen.
“We respect that and we also respect that he is their player, and what they want to do.
“But at the same time, he is our player at the moment because we have that loan contract. And we will only allow anything to happen if we can do what’s right for us.”
United, who have also been linked with Middlesbrough midfielder Marcus Browne, were dealt a blow in the transfer market last week when Souttar, the Heart of Midlothian and Scotland defender, agreed a pre-contract with Rangers. The 25-year-old travelled to United for talks after making it clear he wanted to leave Tynecastle.
Revealing a centre-half remains his top priority during what he expects will be “an already difficult” window complicated further by Covid-19 outbreaks, Heckingbottom explained scouts from the United World network have been helping United’s own recruitment gurus identify targets.
“We know that position is a priority,” he said. “We’ve been caught short there before. We know we can get one. But we want a good one - one that helps us with our style of play and also brings greater quality and competition.”
With Ben Davies testing positive for the coronavirus yesterday morning, Heckingbottom added: “Everything we are considering. Mitch (Paul Mitchell, United’s head of recruitment) is working really hard and across United World, they’ve also come up with some good players.”