Sheffield United edged a step closer towards signing John Brayford last night when Cardiff City paved the way for him to leave south Wales, writes James Shield.
Officials at the Championship club have told Brayford, who made 20 appearances for Nigel Clough’s side after arriving on loan 12 months ago, to decide where his future lies after receiving a sixth bid from their Bramall Lane counterparts.
Although the exact amount United are ready to pay to secure the defender’s services has yet to be confirmed, The Star understands a seven figure sum has been tabled with City’s board of directors.
Clough, whose squad faces Preston North End in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow, recently acknowledged it “was no great secret” that he wants to resurrect his partnership with Brayford after previously working with the 27-year-old at Burton Albion and Derby County.
Although Clough’s counterpart Russell Slade would prefer Brayford to reject United’s advances, he has identified Huddersfield Town’s Lee Peltier as a possible replacement.
“He (Peltier) is on the radar, that’s for sure,” Slade admitted earlier this week. “He’s one that we know all about but we’ll have to wait and see. There’s a possibility.”
“We’re trying to reduce the wage bill,” Slade added. “We’ve got to get the numbers down.
“It’s all part of a transition, it’s part of what we’re trying to achieve here.”
Brayford, who watched United beat Queens Park Rangers to set-up their visit to Deepdale, is thought to be keen on exploring the possibility of a return to South Yorkshire having previously spoken of his respect for Clough.
United are also known to be holding talks with Brighton and Hove Albion aimed at forcing through a permanent transfer for centre-forward Chris O’Grady.
Brayford cost £1.5m when he joined City from County in July 2013 but failed to command a regular starting berth until Slade’s appointment earlier this term.