Sheffield United: Blades linked with £5 million Middlesbrough centre-back Paddy McNair
Sheffield United are said to be interested in signing Middlesbrough defender Paddy McNair, who joined the club last season in a £5m move from Sunderland.
With defensive expert Tony Pulis at the helm, Boro achieved the joint-best defensive record – matching the Blades - in the Championship last season, with McNair making 16 appearances as his side achieved a 7th place finish.
According to the Sun, the Northern Ireland international’s versatility makes him a particularly attractive option to United, as the player is capable of playing either as a defender, a defensive midfielder, or even a wing-back; which is an area in which the Blades could do with strengthening.
Despite Pulis being replaced by Jonathan Woodgate, McNair looks unlikely to force his way into Boro’s back four for a regular starting spot this season, with centre-back pairing Aden Flint and Daniel Ayala looking rock solid at the back throughout the 2018/19 campaign.
Furthermore, young prospect Dael Fry could also provide competition for a place in the Woodgate’s side.
Given that United boss Chris Wilder favours a formation with a back three, he could certainly do with bolstering his centre-back options, and McNair could prove a fine signing ahead of the Blades’ first Premier League campaign in over a decade.
However, the 24-year-old still has three years left on his contract at the Riverside Stadium, which means Boro are unlikely to let their player go on the cheap. Celtic are also said to be interested, as they look to build on their impressive, treble winning season.
McNair began his career at Manchester United, rising through their prestigious youth academy and going on to make 27 apperances for the club. He then spent two years at Sunderland, before being snapped up by Middlesbrough last summer.