SHEFFIELD United’s refusal to consider a swap deal for Nick Montgomery is frustrating Leeds’ efforts to lure the midfielder to Elland Road, The Star understands.
Montgomery counts Simon Grayson, the West Yorkshire club’s manager, among his most long-standing admirers despite rejecting the opportunity to join his hometown team 12 months ago.
United’s relegation from the Championship last season means it is almost inevitable that the midfielder will follow Darius Henderson and winger Jamie Ward through the exit door at Bramall Lane before the end of the summer transfer window.
But with United telling potential suitors they must meet their undisclosed valuation of the 29-year-old, Leeds’ face being dragged into protracted and complex negotiations if they decide to continue their pursuit of the former Scotland under-21 international.
Although Grayson has attempted to downplay his interest in Montgomery, the possibility that United could target Billy Paynter has prompted suggestions that the Leeds striker could be used as a makeweight in any potential move.
Although that possibility can not be ruled-out at a later stage, sources close to United have indicated that, until fellow centre-forward Ched Evans’ future is resolved, their board of directors will only entertain cash offers for a player who is also being monitored by Cardiff and Queens Park Rangers.
Danny Wilson, United’s manager, has made no secret of the fact that Evans seems destined to become the latest high profile victim of his behind the scenes reorganisation.
Despite admitting that he is unlikely to re-enter the transfer market until after the squad visit Malta on Thursday as part of their preparations for the 2011/12 campaign, talks with at least two would-be acquisitions are known to be taking place.
Paynter, who excelled under Wilson at Swindon Town, is not among them but United could be tempted to review that situation should he be declared surplus to requirements by Leeds.
Pointedly, Wilson left the door for United to swoop slightly ajar when questioned on the matter last month although Paynter’s is not the only name being discussed with assistant Frank Barlow and chief scout Billy Dearden.
With Danny Philliskirk officially joining Lecsinel Jean-Francois at United, Wilson has reassured supporters that slow but steady progress is being made in terms of recruitment ahead of next month’s opener at Oldham Athletic.