Sheffield United transfer target set to commit his future to boyhood club as Blades move on
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Sheffield United transfer target Will Smallbone is set to commit his future to his boyhood club Southampton, after the Blades moved on to other midfield options. The Southampton midfielder attracted United’s interest after he entered the final year of his contract on the south coast, with United reportedly having a bid turned down earlier in the window.
The situation was complicated when Smallbone suffered an ankle injury earlier this month, expected to keep him out past the transfer deadline on Friday. But he is set to end speculation about his future by penning a new deal at St. Mary’s, with the Athletic - who believe Smallbone has rejected “more lucrative offers” to stay at his boyhood club - reporting the contract to be for three years plus the option of a further season.
Speaking recently, new Saints boss Russell Martin admitted there had been Premier League interest in Smallbone but United instead signed free agent Tom Davies, after news of Smallbone’s injury filtered through. The new Saints boss had been keen to tie down Smallbone to an extended contract, telling the Daily Echo recently: “I hope so. Talks have been ongoing. I think Will wanted to come back and see how he fits in and see the new way of working. He feels like he had done enough last season to come back here and stake a claim and be a big player for the club. That is what he wants.
“However, it has to be right for him and there has definitely been interest from other clubs in the Championship and Premier League after how well he had done. The club has been very clear with Will that we want him here; I want him here and Jason [Wilcox, director of football] wants him here.
“He’s an academy graduate and we have to really buy into those players. We have to be serious about that. Often you’ll hear it and it’s a bit lip service but we really want people who care about the club. Will, for many reasons, ticks a lot of boxes – character, talent, grown up here and cares - and hopefully it’s something we can get sorted very quickly.”