Sheffield United continue to monitor one of their long-standing transfer targets

Sheffield United could choose to resurrect their interest in Reading’s John Swift if John Lundstram refuses to accept the contract offer he received earlier this year.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 6:00 am

Negotiators acting on Chris Wilder’s behalf made contact with officials at the Madejski Stadium at the beginning of the summer transfer window, as the United manager began the process of reshaping his squad following last season’s ninth placed finish in the Premier League.

Although they failed to reach an agreement about Swift’s valuation - with Reading unwilling to sell him for £3.5m and United refusing to increase their bid - the former Chelsea midfielder still boasts admirers at Bramall Lane, where talks about tying Lundstram down to a new deal appear to have reached an impasse.

Wilder’s preference would be to see the former England under-20 international, who joined the club from Oxford in 2017, remain in South Yorkshire. But, by his own admission, Wilder likes to plan for the short, medium and also long term - meaning he is likely to be already compiling a list of candidates to replace Lundstram if he does eventually move on. Given the fact he has monitored Swift’s progress for more than 12 months, it would be a major surprise if his name does not feature among the candidates being assessed.

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Reading's John Swift counts Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder among his list of admirers: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

United’s priority, however, is improving their results at the beginning of the present campaign after taking only a point from their opening five outings. With games against Manchester City and Chelsea following Saturday’s visit to reigning champions Liverpool, Wilder’s side recognise a failure to do so would not only risk condemning them to a long and arduous battle for survival but also impact upon their plans for when the market reopens in January.

Speaking earlier this year, Wilder acknowledged that the progress United made last term helped convince Sander Berge to join them from Genk amid reports he was also being chased by Napoli.

The £22m fee Berge commanded made him the most expensive purchase in United’s history, until Rhian Brewster arrived from Anfield earlier this month. Brewster is likely to feature against his former club this weekend.

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John Lundstram has started all of Sheffield United's Premier League games so far this season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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