Jay O’Shea has been warned that Sheffield United will not wait forever for him to accept their contract offer.
The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international was invited to join Chris Wilder’s side on a permanent basis earlier this month after helping them win the League One title.
But, as he awaits O’Shea’s response, Wilder last night revealed he has set an unofficial deadline for those talks to be resolved.
“There’s always a little bit of negotiating in situations like this,” the United manager said. “Some to’ing and fro’ing between everyone involved. But, at the same time, we don’t want to wait forever and we won’t. There is a point by which time I expect everything to be sorted out. If not, then we’ll press ahead elsewhere.”
United paid a £50,000 loan fee to recruit O’Shea from Chesterfield in January and the midfielder recently admitted he wanted to remain in South Yorkshire next term. As The Star reported yesterday, sources at Walsall claim representatives acting on behalf of Bramall Lane made an exploratory approach for Erhun Oztumer towards the end of last season. Although officials at the Banks’s Stadium reportedly regarded that as an information gathering exercise, the situation could change if O’Shea decides to reject Wilder’s proposal. Other potential targets, including Portsmouth’s Enda Stevens and Nathan Thomas of Hartlepool, are also being monitored.
“Jay has obviously got to do what he thinks what’s best for him and his family,” he added. “I totally get that, everyone would be the same. Nothing untoward has happened and I understand him taking some time to make sure everything is right. Equally, we also want to get things done and he’ll understand that too. It’s all amicable.”
Wilder proved he is a tough negotiator only days after taking charge last summer when he altered the conditions of a deal, initially tabled by his predecessor Nigel Adkins, to goalkeeper George Long. Stevens, a defender, has set his heart on moving to United when his contract at Fratton Park expires. Acquiring Thomas, however, could turn-out to be much more difficult after Middlesbrough also entered the race for his services. The winger, aged 22, was born in nearby Ingleby Barwick.
Wilder, meanwhile, has confirmed Paul Coutts, Billy Sharp, Chris Basham, Jake Wright and Kieron Freeman are all definitely tied to United next term after activating appearance based clauses in their contracts. Those extensions were loaded in the club’s favour and so did not need to be negotiated.
Centre-forward Matt Done, who was placed on the transfer list last week, is attracting interest from United’s neighbours Rotherham.