Sheffield United: Intriguing developments surrounding three of The Blades' top targets

Thomas Frank, the Brentford manager, insists his club have yet to receive any official offers for Neal Maupay as Sheffield United press ahead with their efforts to sign the centre-forward.

By James Shield
Sunday, 07 July, 2019, 12:29
Oli McBurnie is another target: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Maupay, who together with Swansea City's Oli McBurnie and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson top Chris Wilder's remaining list of transfer targets following a flurry of activity last week, was a notable absentee when Frank's squad visited AFC Wimbledon for a friendly last week.

Despite attributing Maupay's failure to appear to an unspecified injury - "It's a slight overload," Frank told reporters after the game - the ensuing speculation forced him to issue a further statement claiming United have yet to table a bid for the 22-year-old.

Dean Henderson: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Crucially., though, Frank was unable to offer a cast iron guarantee that Maupay will start the new Championship season at Griffin Park, with Aston Villa having previously expressed an interest in acquiring his services.

"As a coach you want to keep your best players – always – so yes I want to keep him,” Frank said.

"Approaches? No," Frank added. "That’s the good thing about the structure of the club. I can leave that to (directors of football) Rasmus (Ankersen), Phil (Giles) and (club owner) Matthew (Benham). I can have my wishes."

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Despite travelling to Portugal for warm-weather training ahead of Friday's friendly against Real Betis, United will press ahead with their pursuits of Maupay, McBurnie and Henderson this week, with the latter granted permission to miss Manchester United's trips to Australia, Singapore and China.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

City are also attempting to play hardball over McBurnie, who scored 24 goals in all competitions last term. However, although officials at the Liberty Stadium publicly insist they have no desire to part company with the Leeds-born marksman, strories emerging from South Wales suggest they could be persuaded to do business if the price is right.

Maupay, previously of Nice and St Etienne, netted 28 times during the 2018/19 campaign while Henderson helped United win promotion to the Premier League after joining them on loan.

Wilder unveiled Luke Freeman and Phil Jagielka as his first summer signings before flying to the Algarve where Ravel Morrison, the former Manchester United midfielder, is undergoing a trial period with the South Yorkshire club's squad.

Brentford's Neal Maupay celebrates: Ian Walton/PA Wire.