Sheffield United: Wolves relationship could be key in the battle for young centre-half

Sheffield United will attempt to exploit the relationship they developed with Wolverhampton Wanderers during Morgan Gibbs-White’s successful loan spell at Bramall Lane in order to try and win the race for Dion Sanderson’s services, if manager Paul Heckingbottonm decides to pursue his interest in the centre-half.

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A long-standing target of United and known to be admired by their head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, Sanderson has twice held talks about a move to South Yorkshire in the past. Although he completed switches elsewhere on both occasions, that was down to logistics rather than any lack of commitment on Sanderson’s part.

With bolstering his defence one of Heckingbottom’s top priorities this summer, United hope the contacts they developed at Molineux after borrowing Gibbs-White at the beginning of last season, coupled with the 22-year-old’s rapid development, will persuade Bruno Lage they are Sanderson’s best option should the Portuguese decide to loan him out again rather than sell on a permanent basis.

lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United has a shot blocked by Dion Sanderson of QPR: David Klein / Sportimage

Reports in the Midlands last night suggested that Lage could be prepared to offload the youngster in order to generate extra funding for his own work in the transfer window.

Sanderson, also aged 22, has spent most of his career with Wolves being sent out on loan, completing placements at Cardiff City, Birmingham City, Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland - who are also believed to be monitoring the situation closely after being promoted back to the Championship.

United’s most recent approach for Sanderson came in January, but he had already given former Rangers chief Mark Warburton his word that he would head to west London.

Dion Sanderson faced Sheffield United towards the end of last season: David Klein / Sportimage

Heckingbottom is also thought to have been keeping tabs on Chelsea’s Jake Clarke-Salter and Josh Doig of Hibernian, with chief executive Steve Betts revealing earlier this week that a bid has been submitted for one player already attached to a rival club while talks with a free agent are also gathering pace.

Heckingbottom has also stated that he wants to make progress towards bolstering his options before United head to Portugal for a pre-season training camp next month. They will also take part in a series of friendlies in England before returning to competitive action.

Paul Heckingbottom wants to strengthen Sheffield United's defensive options: Simon Bellis/Sportimage