Sheffield United ready to get personal in the battle for Liverpool's Rhian Brewster
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, is ready to speak personally again with his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp in a bid to secure Rhian Brewster’s signature.
Speaking after revealing he telephoned Klopp earlier this month to outline how United plan to develop the centre-forward - the final target on their summer shopping list - Wilder could approach the German again in an effort to force a breakthrough in negotiations which have now been ongoing for around a month.
Although brokering a loan deal for Chelsea’s Ethan Ampadu proved a much more straightforward process - the defender could make his Premier League debut for United at Aston Villa tomorrow evening - Wilder revealed how a conversation with Frank Lampard, his opposite number at Stamford Bridge, helped accelerate talks between the two clubs.
It is a tactic he is prepared to resurrect in order to beat-off competition from top-flight rivals Crystal Palace for Brewster, who scored 11 times in 22 appearances during a spell with Swansea City in the Championship last term.
“I think every transfer is different,” Wilder told The Star. “In some cases, there’s no need (to speak to the other manager).
“When you are signing really good players on loan, such as Ethan, the conversations I had with Frank were really positive. He understands the game and young players. He knows, with everything he’s done there and when he was at Derby (County) what’s needed for them.
“There were questions asked and there were questions answered. It was really positive between Frank and myself. I’ve got to say he was brilliant.
“Speaking to the manager at Liverpool? Yes, I’ve also done that and he’s a really great and knowledgeable guy too.”
Wilder views Brewster as the final piece in a recruitment jigsaw he began piecing together after guiding United to a ninth placed finish in the table last term, with Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun another potential option as he looks to bolster the attacking options at his disposal. Villa had also been monitoring Brewster’s situation but Bertrand Traore’s arrival in the West Midlands could signal the end of their interest.
Klopp, who guided Liverpool to the title last season, has previously expressed his admiration for the way United play under Wilder and officials in South Yorkshire hope that will prove crucial when he decides how best to accelerate Brewster’s progress.
After losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers during the opening round of the new campaign, Wilder has admitted to wrestling with a series of selection dilemmas after being impressed by the performance of Ampadu and fellow new faces Oliver Burke, Max Lowe, Jayden Bogle and Wes Foderingham when United travelled to Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Thursday.
“Usually, when we’ve changed it so drastically in the past, we came away with more negatives than positives,” he said, after also describing Ben Osborn’s performance at Turf Moor as “brilliant”. “That wasn’t the case at Burnley. There were more positives. Far more positives. And that was against a stronger Burnley team than I would have expected. So that’s good, because I wanted food for thought ahead of Villa.”