Sheffield United: Blades to step up chase for Ryan Leonard with midfielder keen to leave Southend

Ryan Leonard wants to leave Southend this summer
Ryan Leonard wants to leave Southend this summer
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Sheffield United are expected to step up their pursuit of Ryan Leonard after the midfielder’s agent admitted he is keen to leave Southend this summer.

United have already had one bid knocked back for the 25-year-old, who won Southend’s Player of the Year award for the last two seasons, while Millwall have also seen their offer rejected.

Southend chairman Ron Martin is keen to keep Leonard, whose contract expires next June, and offered him a new three-year deal recently.

But Peter Conning, Leonard’s agent, says the player is keen to test himself in the Championship.

“Ryan has not submitted a transfer request at this stage but he would certainly like to play at a higher level and move on from Southend,” Conning said.

“He would welcome the chance to step up to the Championship and the club are being offered good money, so it would seem to make good financial sense too.”

Millwall, promoted to the Championship via the League One play-offs, offered £300,000 for Leonard but Martin recently insisted he wasn’t for sale.

Leonard’s stance, however, may force the Roots Hall club into doing business. Chris Wilder, the United manager, has already signed Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas, Enda Stevens and George Baldock this summer.