Negotiations between Sheffield United and Oxford regarding the termination of George Long’s loan are set to continue this week after the former England under-21 international returned to the Redtooth Academy, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough, the United manager, recalled Long from the Kassam Stadium after being informed he would no longer be selected by the League Two club as Michael Appleton looks to make further loan signings before Thursday’s deadline.
However, with the goalkeeper’s temporary agreement not scheduled to officially expire until next year, talks regarding a financial settlement remain ongoing.
Although those discussions are understood to focus primarily on whether Oxford must continue to make contributions towards Long’s wages, Clough has also told The Star there is also a knot of red tape to potentially untangle.
“We’re not sure whether we can actually can just call the whole thing off altogether,” he said. “We’ll have to see what the regulations allow.
“But we sent George out to get some games and to further his development. If he’s not doing that then he’s better off back here.”
With Mark Howard consolidating his status as United’s undisputed number one in recent weeks and Iain Turner, previously of Scotland and Everton, arriving on a short-term contract earlier this year, United are nevertheless keen to ensure that Long is still exposed to regular first team competition.
Appleton, refuting suggestions that his predicament has damaged the relationship between the two teams, said: “There’s just a chat at the minute about what we actually do in terms of who pays who for the remainder of the time he’s supposed to be here. It’s quite normal, it’s just something that has to be done.
“He is back at Sheffield United and I understand it because I’ve made a decision,if anything, to hopefully bring a couple more players in.”