Sheffield United poised to make a big decision over midfielder's future at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United have placed John Lundstram on the transfer list after failing to break the deadlock in their contract talks with the midfielder.

Monday, 10th August 2020, 5:01 pm

Lundstram, aged 26, is yet to accept United’s offer of an improved deal nearly a year after being invited to the negotiating table; with Wilder describing their most recent proposal as a ‘take it or leave it’ opportunity.

The player’s failure to accept has prompted at least two of United’s divisional rivals to begin discussing the possibility of trying to lure him away from South Yorkshire. Although their identities remain unconfirmed, West Ham and Brighton and Hove Albion are known to have cast admiring glances at Lundstram in the past.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic forced competition in England to be temporarily suspended - the season was eventually completed only last month - United took the decision to trigger a clause contained in Lundstram’s present agreement extending it until next summer. Had they not done so, the former Everton youngster would have been able to leave on a free transfer - three years after joining Wilder’s squad from Oxford.

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But with the manager recently admitting he would “not hold a gun to the head” of anyone who wanted to move elsewhere, United must now decide whether to entertain any official approaches which might materialise before the new campaign begins on September 12 or, given Lundstram’s refusal to put pen to paper, risk losing him for nothing next summer.

Wilder, who wants to bring AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale back to United after Manchester United demanded they make a bigger contribution to Dean Henderson’s wages than when he returned on loan at the beginning of last term, is also known to be a firm believer in the importance of working with a settled squad. Wigan Athletic defender Antonee Robinson, Reading’s John Swift and Matty Cash are also understood to feature on United’s wanted list.

Lundstram has made 88 appearances for United, with nearly 40 coming after helping them win promotion from the Championship last year.

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SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: John Lundstram of Sheffield United celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Sheffield United at St Mary's Stadium on July 26, 2020 in Southampton, England: Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images