Sheffield United: When Wolves' captain nearly made a shock return to Bramall Lane
A permanent fixture in their Premier League starting eleven and now the proud owner of the captain’s armband, it seems inconceivable that Wolverhampton Wanderers would consider parting company with Conor Coady unless they received an astronomical offers.
But Sheffield United, who visit Molineux this weekend, were convinced they could sign him two years ago.
Indeed, although both the former England under-21 international and his employers attempted to rubbish suggestions he could return to Bramall Lane at the time,
The Star can confirm that senior figures at United initially received encouraging signals after making an approach before their counterparts in the Black Country performed an abrupt volte face.
It was in the summer of 2017, four months after he steered them to the League One title, that representatives acting on United manager Chris Wilder’s behalf informed him that Coady might be sold for the right price.
Intrigued by the news, Wilder decided to investigate further and what he discovered persuaded him to instruct his football administration department to make contact with Wolves, where Nuno Espirito Santo had just replaced Paul Lambert at the helm. Wilder, a close friend of the Portuguese’s predecessor and lifelong United fan, had been impressed by Coady’s performances for the club during a spell on loan in South Yorkshire earlier in his career and resolved to test the water by submitting a semi-official bid.
Although that was rejected, the feedback United received during that process convinced them that Wolves would be tempted to sell the 26-year-old if the price was right.
After initially maintaining a diplomatic silence, Coady’s club eventually broke cover to try and quash reports linking him with a move away.
But behind the scenes, as Nuno embarked upon a major recruitment drive which focused on bolstering the defensive options at his disposal, United remained certain a deal was possible.
It was not until Wolves decided to deploy Coady at the heart of a three man rearguard - he had previously spent most of his career in midfield - that Wilder was informed there was no point in continuing his pursuit of a player who has gone on to become one of Nuno’s most dependable performers.
In the end, United’s failure to secure Coady’s release has worked out well for all three parties involved.