Sheffield United: New Rangers signing John Lundstram was made a huge offer to stay at Bramall Lane
Sheffield United offered to make John Lundstram one of their highest paid players in an attempt to prevent him leaving Bramall Lane on a free transfer, The Star understands.
After declining several invitations to sign a new contract, including one former manager Chris Wilder described as a “take it or leave it offer” midway through last season, Lundstram was unveiled by Rangers earlier this week having agreed to join the Scottish Premiership champions.
The midfielder, whose departure leaves Wilder’s successor Slavisa Jokanovic with a hole to fill during this summer’s transfer market, insisted the opportunity to work under his boyhood idol Steven Gerrard and play European football were the biggest factors behind his decision to head north of the border.
And sources with knowledge of the discussions United held with the 27-year-old and his representatives acknowledged officials there became resigned to losing Lundstram when he rejected one proposal which, according to one, would have “put him among the top four or five biggest earners there.”
That is believed to have been the catalyst for United to publicly announce that Lundstram could depart during the winter window - although the player decided to remain in South Yorkshire and leave as a free agent.
Although the exact details of the salary package United were prepared to hand Lundstram remain unknown - other than the fact it would have been subject to a reduction following their relegation from the Premier League - the fact owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Wilder, who departed in March following a difference of opinion with the board, were happy to sanction it underlines how keen they were to retain the Liverpudlian’s services.
Indeed, speaking during a training camp in Scotland last year, Wilder went to great lengths to praise Lundstram’s professionalism despite the uncertainty surrounding his future. However, like many supporters, he later became frustrated by what he felt was a lack of commitment on the part of a player he had recruited from Oxford three years earlier.
Lundstram made 120 appearances for United, with five of his eight goals coming in the PL.