Sheffield United: Another club withdraws from the race to sign Blades target
Neal Maupay, one of Sheffield United's leading transfer targets, attracted interest from Celtic earlier this summer before Neil Lennon's side baulked at the Frenchman's asking price.
Although Chris Wilder is believed to be pressing ahead with efforts to bring the Brentford centre-forward to Bramall Lane, Lennon, his counterpart in Glasgow, is believed to be pursuing alternative options after learning it could take around £20m to prise him away from Griffin Park.
Despite knowing that reaching the Premier League is worth around £170m, United, who were promoted from the Championship last term, would also not prefer to meet the Londoner's valuation of Maupay. But Celtic's decision to look elsewhere, combined with Aston Villa's apparent unwillingness to enter a bidding war, could provide Wilder with valuable leverage. If the market for Maupay shrinks - Seville reportedly met with his agent a fortnight ago - then Brentford might be forced to accept a lower offer if the player requests a move. Either in writing or, as is more likely, by privately expressing a desire to play at the highest level. Villa, who joined United and Norwich City in the top-flight after winning the play-off final, tried to sign Maupay in January but have yet to return to the negotiating table. The former St Etienne striker scored 25 goals and claimed eight assists last term.
Maupay is not the only attacker on Wilder's wanted-list, which also includes Swansea City's Oli McBurnie and Luke Freeman of Queens Park Rangers. Intriguingly, he has also been linked with Celtic's Scott Sinclair, who represented the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City before heading north of the border.