Sheffield United: The name of the latest player being touted for a move to Bramall Lane will surprise no one

Not for the first time in his career, Sam Gallagher has been linked with a move to Sheffield United.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:41 am
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:41 am
Matt Prestridge, Alan Knill and Chris Wilder have been discussing transfers: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

When suggestions surfaced earlier this week that Gallagher once again features on Wilder's summer shopping list, they will have come as no surprise to those who have tracked United's recent manoeuvres in the transfer market. Or those, following his team's promotion from the Championship, who listened to the 51-year-old remind he wants to sign "assets" with "potential" ahead of the new Premier League season.

Although Gallagher is unlikely to feature among United's immediate priorities - Swansea City's Oli McBurnie and Neal Maupay of Brentford are two of their leading targets - the 23-year-old does tick the boxes Wilder uses to decide which players to pursue from the spreadsheet of possibilities his scouting department has compiled since being established in 2016.

Southampton's Sam Gallagher

A former England under-20 international, Gallagher enrolled on Southampton's academy programme following a stint with Plymouth Argyle. Having completed loan spells with MK Dons and Blackburn Rovers, he then completed a temporary switch to Birmingham City before returning to Hampshire, making six outings last term.

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Despite amassing a creditable 26 appearances for Southampton, Gallagher has reached the stage of his career where he requires more opportunities to progress. Given Wilder's previous interest, he could decide to force the issue if United submit a concrete bid.

Gallagher first emerged as a potential signing 12 months ago when, after finishing 10th in the Championship, United began the process of bolstering a squad which eventually go on to secure second place.

Wilder, after being impressed with his combination of power and technique, failed to secure his release on that occasion before flirting wirh the idea again in January.

The Sheffield United players and management celebrate promotion: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Although Gary Madine and Scott Hogan were his eventual picks, Wilder has a habit of maintaining an interest in players he has attempted to capture in the past. Indeed Hogan also featured on his agenda this time last year before Aston Villa's financial demands, coupled with Steve Bruce's refusal to sell, forced United to postpone the deal until midway through the campaign.

After a series of meetings with his assistant Alan Knill and other members of United's backroom staff, Wilder recently submitted his final recruitment proposals to United's hierarchy. McBurnie, Maupay and Britt Assombalonga are all under consideration. Wilder could also look to strengthen his options at wing-back given the demands United's 3-5-2 system places on George Baldock, Enda Stevens and Kieron Freerman.