Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder reveals how close the Blades came to signing Neal Maupay before striker went to Brighton and Hove Albion

Chris Wilder has revealed Sheffield United 'had discussions' with striker Neal Maupay in the summer before appearing to admit that the striker chose to sign for Brighton and Hove Albion instead.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 12:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:58 pm

Maupay was identified as one of Wilder's top close-season targets after an impressive goalscoring season for Brentford, before he joined Brighton instead in a £16m deal.

The striker will come face-to-face with the Blades for the first time since the summer this weekend when the Blades put their unbeaten away record this season on the line at the AMEX Stadium.

And Wilder said: "We had discussions with Neal in the summer. There were quite a few clubs in the same pond. We wanted to improve at the top of the pitch and he was a player we knew a lot about with his exploits at Brentford.

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

"As I say, we looked at him and he was a possibility but players make their choices and he chose to sign for Brighton.

"It was a good signing for them and they're a powerful football club. I read a couple of weeks ago that the owner has put in £400m over the years there and I know a little bit about them too, from a period I had under Micky Adams as a player.

"I should possibly have stayed a little bit longer there because it was the start of a decent period for them. They had a new training ground, the new owner came in and they got the new ground.

"It's an excellent football club with a really good manager and they had one before Graham Potter in Chris Hughton, too.

"I don't think anyone could have any criticism of the job Chris did there. They have a lot of good players and are looking to improve, as we all are."

Wilder had a short spell at Brighton towards the end of his playing career, after leaving United for the second time. He moved on to Halifax Town and later began his senior managerial career there, later winning promotion with Oxford United, Northampton Town and the Blades (twice).