Revealed: The truth behind Sheffield United's links to in-demand striker

Sheffield United were contemplating trying to broker a deal for Wigan Athletic teenager Kyle Joseph during their negotiations with his former team mate Antonee Robinson, The Star understands, before the move broke down when the USA international joined Fulham instead.

Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th January 2021, 12:10 pm

Two people closely involved in the discussions claim Chris Wilder first expressed an interest in Joseph during the summer transfer window, when Robinson appeared destined to arrive at United until their Premier League rivals hijacked the switch.

Although the proposal Wilder and negotiators acting on his behalf hoped would persuade Wigan to part company with the 19-year-old was not dependent upon Robinson moving to South Yorkshire, one source believes it was so intertwined with the package designed to secure Robinson’s release that it became impossible to progress when the defender eventually moved to London.

With this month’s transfer market set to close in just over three weeks time, United are being linked with another swoop for Joseph, who has scored four goals in 13 appearances for Leam Richardson’s side.

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Wilder has made a new centre-half and midfielder his top priorities before the February 1st deadline, after losing Jack O’Connell and Sander Berge to long-term injuries.

But after encouraging Bramall Lane’s board of directors to pursue names including Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard and Ben Davies of Preston North End, the United manager and his coaching staff have also begun laying the groundwork for a reprofiling of their attack, with both David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp, aged 33 and 34 respectively, now in the autumn of their careers. Kevin Nisbet, the Hibernian striker, is also being monitored by members of United’s technical department.

Despite insisting he will not leave Easter Road midway through the Scottish Premiership campaign, Jack Ross, the Edinburgh club’s manager, has admitted Nisbet could have a decision to make about his future at the end of the season.

“I don’t want to lose him full stop,” Ross explained, when the situation was put to him. “I should imagine, for those in senior management, it would need to be something that would turn their heads because we have to balance it out with the contribution and value he brings on the pitch.”

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, and his assistant Alan Knill: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

After turning professional under Wilder’s close friend Paul Cook, who resigned his position at the DW Stadium in August, Joseph made his senior debut in October. Despite being born in north London, he represents Scotland at youth level.

Tottenham Hotspur, who face United on Sunday, Rangers and Celtic have also reportedly compiled dossiers on Joseph.

United will enter the meeting with Jose Mourinho’s side searching for their third win of the season, after following-up last weekend’s FA Cup victory over Bristol Rovers by beating Newcastle in the PL on Tuesday evening. That result, combined with Brighton and Hove Albion’s defeat by Manchester City, means they are now nine points adrift of safety. After facing Spurs, United host Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round of the FA Cup before matches against Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s team. They are then scheduled to face West Bromwich Albion early next month, before playing host to Chelsea.

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Kevin NIsbet scores a late equaliser during the Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Hibernian at Celtic Park: Ross MacDonald / SNS Group