Sheffield United: Blades prepare to get tough with Arsenal after second guessing their motives over new 'keeper links
Sheffield United have again warned Arsenal they will not be bullied into submission as officials at the Emirates Stadium attempt to persuade them to sell Aaron Ramsdale.
A member of the England squad which has reached the semi-finals of the European Championships, the goalkeeper emerged as a target for Mikel Arteta earlier this summer following a series of superb performances last term.
Although those did not prove enough to prevent United from being relegated from the Premier League, they did confirm Ramsdale’s status as one of the most promising young footballers in the country - with the Londoners keen to secure his signature.
However, after refusing to accept United’s £40m valuation of a player they purchased for £18.5m only 11 months ago, Arsenal have now turned their attention towards West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone - who is also expected to feature on the bench when Gareth Southgate’s men face Denmark on Wednesday night.
Despite acknowledging that interest is genuine, United also believe it is a ploy to pressurise them into accepting a lower fee for Ramsdale as they reorganise their finances after being relegated.
But with Ramsdale known to be happy to remain in South Yorkshire, having previously spoken about the importance of “putting down some roots”, at least one member of Bramall Lane’s hierarchy has let it be known United do not plan to budge.
Slavisa Jokanovic outlined his determination to keep both Ramsdale and Sander Berge during his official unveiling as United manager on Friday, with the midfielder also attracting admiring glances from north London. Napoli are another club chasing Berge, who carries a £35m asking price.
Ramsdale, aged 23, started his professional career at United before being sold to AFC Bournemouth in 2017. Capped 15 times by his country at international level, he returned north after making 37 top-flight appearances for his former club and, after making a chequered start to life back at United, excelled during the second half of the campaign.
After initially being culled from Southgate’s pre-tournament plans, Ramsdale was summoned back to St George’s Park when Dean Henderson, his close friend and former United loanee, was forced to withdraw through injury.