Sheffield United: Gunners set to step up pursuit of Ramsdale as Blades eye South American wonderkid

Sheffield United expect Arsenal to make an official approach for Aaron Ramsdale later this week, their first since making the goalkeeper one of their leading transfer targets.

By James Shield
Monday, 26th July 2021, 5:00 am

Although The Star understands two bids have already been lodged with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, those are thought to have been made via intermediaries granted the authority to act on the Londoners’ behalf.

With both of those being rejected after falling short of United’s valuation, sources in the capital now report Mikel Arteta’s employers are now set to ratchet-up the pressure by establishing a proper line of communication with their counterparts in South Yorkshire.

Despite refusing to set an exact timescale for that to happen, senior figures within the game suspect that will happen within the next seven days. With United set to return to competitive action on August 7, their board of directors could find themselves in an awkward position if Arsenal’s offer approaches the £40m they believe Ramsdale is worth after helping England reach the final of this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament.

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Slavisa Jokanovic United’s new manager, made it clear he wants to retain Ramsdale’s services after being unveiled as Chris Wilder’s successor on July 1. The Serb is already thought to have held talks with the 23-year-old and his representative about the situation, gauging their response to news of Arsenal’s interest.

With Sander Berge and George Baldock also attracting admiring glances from elsewhere following United’s relegation last term, Jokanovic is hoping to strengthen his squad ahead of next month’s deadline by recruiting at least one midfielder and two centre-halves.

"We need some refreshing,” Jokanovic told journalists soon after being unveiled.

Yuriel Celi, aged 19, has been linked with a switch to United although Sao Paulo are also reported to be monitoring the teenager. Celi, capped 12 times by Peru at under-23 level, plays for Academia Cantolao in the South American country’s Liga 1 competition.

Aaron Ramsdale: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

If United do pursue the teenager, they would be required to arrange a work permit before bringing him to England. Celi has made 47 appearances and scored seven goals for Carlos Silvestri’s side, since turning professional.