DERBY County could become the first club to test Matthew Lowton’s desire to remain with Sheffield United, The Star understands.
Members of the Championship club’s backroom staff were regular visitors to Bramall Lane last season and are believed to have submitted a glowing report of the right-back’s qualities to manager Nigel Clough.
Kevin McCabe, United’s owner and plc chairman, confirmed Danny Wilson, Clough’s counterpart, would not be forced to sell any of his young stars despite last month’s defeat in the League One play-off final at Wembley. However McCabe, who has effectively bankrolled several of United’s latest signings, acknowledged they could be forced to review the situation should anyone express a desire to leave.
Lowton, whose partnership with midfielder Lee Williamson delivered 19 goals during the 2011/12 campaign, is unlikely to agitate for a move having appeared to reaffirm his commitment to United on several occasions before their loss on penalties to Huddersfield Town.
But Wilson recently acknowledged that failure to achieve promotion could prompt some members of his squad to reconsider their futures.
Ipswich Town, who have already seen one offer for Lowton rejected, also feature among his list of suitors.
Lowton has made nearly 100 appearances for United since making his senior debut against Cardiff City in March 2010. Despite making a slow start to his professional career, which at one stage saw him loaned to non-league Sheffield FC, Lowton credited a spell with Hungarian giants Ferencvaros for equipping him with the qualities required to prosper at senior level.
Paul Jewell, the Ipswich manager, has continued to monitor the 22-year-old’s progress despite baulking at United’s valuation a year ago.
With Wilson describing Lowton as the archetypical “modern full-back” en route to the divisional showpiece with Simon Grayson’s side, any offer is likely to spark a scramble for his services.