Portsmouth are continuing their efforts to sign Sheffield United defender Kieron Freeman.
Paul Cook, the League Two club’s manager, has made Freeman one of his top transfer targets despite failing to impress during a spell on loan at Fratton Park last term.
Although United are prepared to part company with the full-back, sources close to the negotiation process say it has been complicated by contractual issues. Portsmouth, who were beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Plymouth Argyle, are unlikely to match the wages Freeman receives at Bramall Lane although a compromise agreement could be brokered.
The 24-year-old was among seven players transfer listed by Chris Wilder after he took charge of United four weeks ago. Signed by Nigel Clough, Freeman started the first seven matches of last season before Nigel Adkins, Wilder’s immediate predecessor, allowed him to join Portsmouth.
A former Wales under-21 international, Freeman made seven appearances for Cook’s side but was sent-off against Northampton Town, then managed by Wilder, during the closing stages of the campaign.
Meanwhile, The Star understands that United are not battling Portsmouth for Lee Novak.
Reports on the south coast suggested Wilder had expressed an interest in the centre-forward, who is also being monitored by Cook, earlier this month. Although United would like to add a physical striker to their squad after parting company with Conor Sammon, Novak does not feature on the provisional shortlist of names Wilder has compiled.
Novak, previously of Birmingham City, Newcastle Blue Star and Huddersfield Town, spent last season on loan at Chesterfield where he scored 15 times in 38 outings. But Cook is refusing to be dragged into a bidding war for his services.