Sheffield United set to keep tabs on Liverpool defender following loan deal

Sheffield United will monitor Ben Davies’ situation at Liverpool before deciding whether or not to try and sign the defender on a permanent basis this summer.

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Despite being affected by injury, illness and personal issues after joining the Championship club on loan, Davies impressed both Paul Heckingbottom and his predecessor Slavisa Jokanovic with his conduct on and off the pitch before returning to Anfield.

As Jurgen Klopp’s squad prepares for tomorrow’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, Davies faces an uncertain future on Merseyside with first team opportunities likely to be in short supply next term.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom (right) and assistant Stuart McCall (left): Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Although United would be unable to match the 26-year-old’s wages in the North-West, there is a feeling a deal could be reached if, as expected, Klopp declares him surplus to requirements ahead of next season.

Heckingbottom is believed to have discussed the situation with Davies before last week’s play-off semi-final defeat to Nottingham Forest, which condemned United to another season in the second tier.

Crucially, the initial move for Davies is likely to have come following a recommendation by Bramall Lane’s recruitment experts given that he was also a target for former manager Chris Wilder before his departure 14 months ago. Indeed, United’s failure to acquire him then, when it became apparent he would not be agreeing a new contract with Preston North End, helped accelerate the demise of Wilder’s relationship with some members of the board.

Ben Davies (right) with Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom and Filip Uremovic (centre): Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Davies later went on to complete a dream switch to Liverpool, but has yet to make a senior appearance under Klopp.

The priority positions

Centre-half is a priority position for Heckingbottom during the forthcoming transfer window, with Filip Uremovic scheduled to rejoin Rubin Kazan following the end of his short-term deal. United are also thought to be tracking Chelsea’s Jake Clarke-Salter and Josh Doig of Hibernian, as Heckingbottom plans a reprofiling exercise following the penalty shoot-out defeat by Forest.

en Davies in action for Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Davies, who started his career at Deepdale, made 22 appearances for United and scored one goal with exactly half of those outings coming after Heckingbottom's appointment in November.

He led United from 16th to fifth in the table, despite suffering an unprecedented selection crisis earlier this year.