Sheffield United must reach a decision on long-standing transfer target if midfielder leaves

Sheffield United must decide whether or not to resurrect their interest in Reading’s John Swift, as his fellow midfielder John Lundstram edges closer to the Bramall Lane exit door.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Despite watching him endure an injury hit campaign at the Madejski Stadium, making only nine appearances in the Championship this season, United manager Chris Wilder remains an admirer of the former England under-21 international after making an approach for his services seven months ago.

Although that proved unsuccessful, with Wilder instructing his board of directors not to meet what he felt was an inflated asking price, United have yet to secure a replacement for Lundstram whose contract expires this summer.

With what Wilder described at the time as their “final” offer to the 27-year-old still remaining unsigned, the Premier League club’s coaching staff have long since resigned themselves to losing a player who helped them finish ninth in the table last term.

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If they remain at the helm, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill must reach a decision over John Swift: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Despite monitoring a number of potential alternatives in the transfer market, including Inter Miami’s Lewis Morgan, Wilder could be persuaded to submit another offer for Swift if he remains at the helm following a difference of opinion over aspects of United’s recruitment policy with members of Bramall Lane’s hierarchy.

Despite, at first glance, being a cause for concern, agents acting on Wilder’s behalf are aware that Swift’s fitness issues could work to United’s advantage if they are instructed to try and lure Reading back to the negotiating table. Veljko Paunovic’s side are challenging for promotion but, with United in receipt of an extended parachute payment after spending two seasons in the top-flight, Wilder’s employers should be in a position to offer Swift a significant pay rise should they be relegated and Reading fail to go up. Also, with Swift about to enter the final 12 months of his present deal, Reading would be forced to consider lowering the reported £7m fee they were demanding in August if United do return with another bid.

Bottom of the table and trailing 17th placed Brighton and Hove Albion by 12 points, Wilder’s men return to action when they visit Leicester City on Sunday. Brendan Rodgers’ side are third.

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Reading's John Swift counts Sheffield United among his list of admirers: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.
John Lundstram looks set to leave Sheffield United this summer: Simon Bellis/Sportimage