Sheffield United believe they are edging closer to finalising a deal for midfielder

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Sheffield United believe they are edging closer to finalising a deal for John Swift, as talks between officials at Bramall Lane and the midfielder’s club Reading continue to progress.

Chris Wilder, the United manager, has identified Swift as the leading candidate to fill the vacancy which exists within his squad for a player capable of operating between both boxes - increasing both competition for places and tactical flexibility ahead of the new Premier League season.

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United, who complete the present campaign at Southampton on Sunday, also believe Reading’s valuation of the former England under-21 international makes him a realistic target after Wilder conceded his recruitment budget is likely to be trimmed as a result of the financial havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Swift, who started his career at Chelsea, has scored 21 goals in 126 starts since joining Mark Bowen’s side in 2016. He impressed when United beat Reading in the FA Cup at the Madejski Stadium earlier this term and like goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who last week became Wilder’s first acquisition of the summer, has long been viewed as a potential signing.

United travel to St Mary’s in eighth position and despite seeing their hopes of qualifying for Europe end following Monday’s defeat by Everton, are assured of a top 10 finish only 15 months after being promoted.

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