Rangers transfer decision could smooth Sheffield United's path to "engine" star after Premier League release

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Sheffield United linked with transfer for Columbian international after Premier League release

Any hopes Sheffield United have of luring Steven Alzate to Bramall Lane this summer have received a boost after Rangers opted against making a move for their long-time transfer target. The 25-year-old midfielder is a free agent after being released by Brighton, following two loan spells in Belgium with Standard Liège.

Alzete is a seven-cap Columbia international, despite being born in London, and has spent seven years on the south coast. But he was amongst the Seagulls players released at the end of the season, with AS Colombia reporting that United are amongst the sides interested in signing him this summer. According to the outlet there is also interest from the MLS and Turkey.

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With United facing a huge summer rebuild after relegation from the Premier League, and funds still tight at Bramall Lane despite the Blades having spent three out of the last five seasons in the top-flight, United staff - including newly-appointed head scout Jamie Hoyland and Mikey Allen, head of recruitment - are keeping tabs on most players available on a free ahead of the new Championship campaign.

And if their interest in Alzate is firmed up into a concrete offer, they may take some encouragement from the decision from Rangers not to continue their long-term interest in the player. The Ibrox side were linked with a move for Alzate as he approached the final six months of his Brighton deal but that didn’t materialise, with sources north of the border suggesting that the Glasgow giants are instead pursuing alternative transfer targets this summer.

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United boast a connection with Belgium through their sister club Beerschot while former Belgian coach Marc Wilmots has previously described Alzate as “the engine,” adding: “He’s the one who puts the pressure on. For him, the ball is a friend. He asks for the ball. He clears up the game. He plays with two touches of the ball. He brings the ball to life. He finds the intervals and plays vertically. He brought calm.”

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Graham Potter, the former Seagulls chief who gave Alzate his Premier League chance after being plucked from Leyton Orient, has also previously hailed the midfielder, saying: “He’s dedicated and focused but his main attribute on the pitch is that he is incredibly comfortable with the ball. He can take an extra touch under pressure and he hasn’t been fazed by the Premier League. His technical ability is really good. He’s a great lad with a lot of ability and a big future.”

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