Sheffield United set to step up their interest in midfielder as manager Chris Wilder issues a transfer warning to rival clubs

Sheffield United are expected to ratchet-up their interest in Reading’s John Swift later this week after telling Newcastle and other clubs reportedly considering bids for members of Chris Wilder’s own squad they should no longer be viewed as a soft touch in the transfer market.

Sunday, 19th July 2020, 11:22 am
Updated Sunday, 19th July 2020, 11:22 am

Having completed a deal for goalkeeper Wes Foderingham before tomorrow’s meeting with Everton, negotiators acting on Wilder’s behalf will attempt to make contact with officials at the Madjeski Stadium later this week after Swift was included on United’s list of potential summer targets.

The former Chelsea midfielder, aged 25, is regarded by many as being ready to make a return to top-flight football after leaving Stamford Bridge in 2016 and, with Wilder acknowledging the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced his recruitment budget, represents a viable option in the transfer market.

After making a strong start to life back in the Premier League following their promotion last season, Wilder has also conceded some of United’s own key performers could attract interest from elsewhere when the window reopens later this month - with one newspaper claiming this week that Steve Bruce, the 52-year-old’s counterpart at St James’ Park, could move for Chris Basham if he remains in post following a proposed takeover by officials connected with Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund.

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But, reminding that United’s bargaining position has been strengthened by their results this term, Wilder confirmed he has no plans to part company with any of his leading names ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. Basham is among a number of players who have been invited to discuss new contracts, after the likes of Oliver Norwood, David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp accepted new agreements recently.

Telling journalists ahead of United’s game against Everton that no approaches have been made for any members of his squad, Wilder said: “It will be market value if anything happens, but nothing has happened and I’m sure Steve (Bettis, United’s chief executive) would have told me if anything had happened.

“We’ve always been open on that. Steve always considers my view and my fingerprints, as everyone knows, are always on transfers going in and out.

“I still think we are a selling club, like most others, but we are a more powerful one. We are in a better position on the pitch.

Yuri Ribeiro of Nottingham Forest is challenged by John Swift of Reading: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“We can attract better players now. We’ve always attracted players because of the size of the football club and the history.”

Swift has made 44 appearances for Reading this term, scoring six goals as Mark Bowen’s side overcame a difficult start to the campaign by climbing to 15th in the Championship table ahead of Wednesday’s final round of games. The former Rotherham and Brentford loanee is under contract in Berkshire until 2022.

Foderingham, previously of Rangers, put pen to paper on a three year deal with United on Friday evening. Although he is ineligible for selection, Foderingham could watch his new team mates in action tomorrow providing he passes the necessary coronavirus protocols.

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