Sheffield United sacrificed Jason Holt to accelerate the development of youngsters such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Louis Reed, writes James Shield.
Nigel Clough, the League One club’s manager, has torn-up plans to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis following its defeat in the play-off semi-finals four days ago.
United negotiated first option on Holt after recruiting him on loan from Heart of Midlothian earlier this year.
But, after reassessing their plans for next season, Clough and his coaching staff have elected not to pursue those talks.
A desire not to inhibit the progress of home-grown talent, such as England under-18 international Reed and Calvert-Lewin, is understood to have been the catalyst behind that decision combined with a determination to increase the physical power at Clough’s disposal.
However, as The Star first revealed last month, Holt has also attracted interest at Championship level since moving south of the border.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Sheffield United,” he said. “I want to wish the players and the manager all the best for next season. I’d also like to thank the fans for welcoming me and supporting me through my time at Bramall Lane, and (managing director) Mal Brannigan for helping me settle in so quickly.
Refusing to rule-out the possibility of a return to United “in the future,” Holt added: “It was an honour to play for such a big club and I really enjoyed working under Nigel Clough. If opportunities allow it, I’d have no hesitation playing for the club again.”