Interest from Italy threatens to derail Sheffield United's bid for key target

Udinese have reportedly entered the race for Ben Davies, in a move which could hamper Sheffield United’s efforts to bring the centre-half to Bramall Lane.

By James Shield
Thursday, 7th January 2021, 6:00 am

The Preston North End defender is among the leading candidates to fill the vacancy Jack O’Connell’s knee injury has created on the left hand side of United’s defence, with manager Chris Wilder expressing an interest in signing Davies earlier this season.

Although that move failed to transpire - some members of the Premier League club’s hierarchy preferring Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo instead - Davies remains on Wilder’s wanted list after refusing to extend his contract at Deepdale, which expires at the end of the present campaign.

Celtic have also been monitoring the 25-year-old’s situation closely. But suggestions Udinese are keen on taking him to Italy threatens to further complicate Wilder’s efforts to bring him to South Yorkshire, with United already acknowledging their business during this month’s window will be limited to loan deals.

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Former Sheffield Wednesday forward Fernando Forestieri in action for Udinese, who are understood to be interested in signing Sheffield United target Ben Davies: Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse via AP

Crucially, La Zebrette, who are 13th in Serie A, can negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Davies and his representative now ahead of a summer move to the continent. The situation, which is a nightmare for North End as they look to recoup some of the investment they have made in a player regarded among the most promising outside England’s top-flight, mirrors the one United find themselves in with John Lundstram. The midfielder, who is also set to become a free agent later this year, is believed to feature on Rangers’ wanted list.

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