Sheffield United have been deliberating youngster's future since the middle of last season, as rivals hope to pounce

Regan Slater’s future at Sheffield United has been the subject of debate behind the scenes at Bramall Lane since February, The Star can confirm, after it emerged the club have extended the midfielder’s contract for a further 12 months.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 4:30 pm

With Hull City making no secret of the fact they want to sign him on a permanent basis following a successful spell on loan at the KCOM Stadium, Slater was informed last week that United had exercised their right to prolong his deal with Slavisa Jokanovic’s side.

Although caretaker Paul Heckingbottom urged the Serb to “take a look” at Slater before he relinquished control, a source with connections at both United and City last night revealed the 21-year-old’s representatives first began trying to devise a career plan for their client when the winter transfer closed.

Had United retained their Premier League status - Heckingbottom was unable to save them from relegation after taking temporary charge in March - there was an understanding that Slater would be allowed to move on. But his situation has now been complicated by a number of different factors, including the timing of Jokanovic’s arrival, the rescheduling of Euro 2020 and the fact that United will also be competing in the Championship next term.

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Regan Slater is a wanted man: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Regan Slater is a wanted man: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Having agreed to fulfil the remainder of his contract with Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, Jokanovic is not expected to arrive in South Yorkshire for at least another couple of weeks while John Fleck and Rhys Norrington-Davies, who are currently representing their respective countries at the European Championships, will almost certainly be granted an extended period of absence once their involvement there ends.

That means Jokanovic is unlikely to be able to assess all of the options at his disposal in the flesh until just before the start of the new campaign, meaning he could be reluctant to sanction any departures until the closing stages of the summer window.

Slater, who was handed his senior United debut Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder, spent last season with City; helping them win promotion from League One after forming a formidable partnership with Greg Docherty and George Honeyman.

Preston North End have also been linked with Slater, following Jayson Molumby’s return to his parent club Brighton and Hove Albion.