Sheffield United pressing ahead with their pursuit of former Chelsea midfielder

Sheffield United’s negotiations with Reading about the purchase of John Swift are set to continue, as representatives acting on behalf of Chris Wilder’s side attempt to broker a deal for the former Chelsea midfielder.

Thursday, 6th August 2020, 6:00 am

Although Swift has signalled his desire to move north - six years after completing a spell on loan with Rotherham - talks aimed at securing his release are thought to have been complicated by the structure of the package being proposed by officials at the Madejski Stadium.

United first expressed their interest in Swift, aged 25, before the end of the Premier League season - which saw them finish ninth and challenge for a place in Europe only 15 months after being promoted from the Championship.

Despite remaining in pole position to secure the player’s signature, reports that a number of other top-flight clubs are waiting to pounce should their talks with United stall have convinced Reading to stand firm both on their asking price and the timeline of payment. Wilder remains confident of unveiling Swift before his squad reports back for training in a couple of weeks time but, given the pressure on his budget created by the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, is unwilling to become involved in an auction.

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Having started his career at Stamford Bridge, where he made one senior appearance before leaving west London in 2016, Swift scored six times in 45 outings for Mark Bowen’s side last term - with one of those coming during United’s FA Cup win in Berkshire.

Capped by England at youth and under-21 level, he represented Swindon Town, Brentford and United’s neighbours during his time in the capital.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest are reportedly keen on bringing Kieron Freeman back to the City Ground after his contract with United expired. The defender progressed through Forest’s youth system before arriving in South Yorkshire following stints with Derby County, Notts County and Mansfield Town.

Freeman, aged 28, was a member of the United side that lifted the 2017 League One title during Wilder’s first season in charge before reaching the top-flight two seasons later.

Reading midfielder John Swift (R), previously of Chelsea, is wanted by Sheffield United: Warren Little/Getty Images

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Kieron Freeman of Sheffield United warms up prior to the FA Cup Fourth Round match at Millwall: Alex Pantling/Getty Images