Sheffield United to step up striker transfer effort after losing out on Chuba Akpom deal

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Sheffield United will redouble their efforts to make further breakthroughs in the transfer market ahead of Friday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, as they prepare to lose out on the signing of Middlesbrough forward Chuba Akpom.

United identified last season’s Championship top scorer, who netted in both games against the Blades on his way to 28 league goals for the campaign, as a potential replacement for Iliman Ndiaye, as a player capable of linking between midfield and attack. United did submit a bid for the former Arsenal man but he now appears set to move to Ajax after a fee, reportedly worth just over £10m plus add-ons, was agreed with the Dutch side.

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Akpom was set to travel to Ajax for a medical today, leaving United to look elsewhere in their bid for more firepower - with Cameron Archer, Akpom’s former teammate on loan at Middlesbrough last season, also a player under consideration.

United kicked off their Premier League campaign with defeat at home to Crystal Palace at the weekend and went into the game with 20-year-old Will Osula and new signing Benie Traore, 21, making their top-flight debuts, with 19-year-old Antwoine Hackford making only his second ever appearance for the Blades off the bench. Ironically both have come in the Premier League, and both against Palace.

“We’ve sold players, so we’ve got the money to spend,” said boss Paul Heckingbottom, whose initial transfer budget has been topped up by the proceeds from the sales of Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge this summer, “and we want to spend it. There might be one or two that go right to the end in terms of loans, but there’s certainly one or two I would love to have in before the next game.”

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