Sheffield United, who have unveiled Craig Alcock as their eighth summer signing, are preparing for a war of attrition with Hull City over Harry Maguire, writes James Shield.
Sources close to the KC Stadium reported last night that Steve Bruce, the City manager, will submit an improved £2m offer for the 21-year-old centre-half within 48 hours.
But with that figure still falling short of United’s valuation, The Star understands it is likely to be rejected by officials at Bramall Lane who insist Maguire’s decision to publicly admit it would be a “dream” to join the Europa League contenders does not substantially alter their position.
Instead they will attempt to squeeze even more money out City, who must also insert a sell-on clause into any proposed deal, before being tempted to open talks.
Bruce, who this newspaper can reveal had a bid worth £1.75m plus various associated add-ons turned down on Friday, has bemoaned the fact that Premier League clubs must “pay a premium” to sign domestic talent.
“There’s the problem in our game. You identify a young English lad but you can get a player from overseas for half the price,” Bruce, speaking from City’s Portuguese training base, said. “If I can buy in our market I always will.”
United, who are adamant it will take more than £2m to persuade them to part company with a player who has made 166 appearances since progressing through the ranks three years ago, yesterday confirmed Alcock as the latest new member of Nigel Clough’s squad.
The full-back, aged 26, rejected the chance to remain with Peterborough before agreeing a two year contract. United have also had a bid rejected for Kieron Freeman by Derby County.