Sheffield United's Max Lowe dilemma after bid rejected for Nottingham Forest loan star

Sheffield United turned down an offer in January for Nottingham Forest loanee Max Lowe, with the defender’s future again the subject of speculation this summer.
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Lowe spent the season on loan at the City Ground and helped Steve Cooper’s side – who beat Paul Heckingbottom’s Blades in the semi-finals - gain promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs last weekend, courtesy of a 1-0 final victory over Huddersfield Town at Wembley.

The former Derby County defender was a key member of Cooper’s squad as they rose from bottom of the table to gain promotion, with Bramall Lane officials bracing themselves for a bid this summer as Forest look to equip their squad for the challenges of the Premier League.

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Lowe has some experience of the top flight, having featured there for United after signing in a double-deal with Jayden Bogle, and it is understood that Forest tried to sign the left-back in a permanent deal in January.

“We did have an offer for Max in January, which we turned down,” chief executive Stephen Bettis confirmed.

“We were not interested in doing that. Max was put out on loan by [former manager Slavisa Jokanović] at the start of the season. It wasn't Paul's decision.

"Paul now has the time to take a look at all three of the players and the squad in general and if there are any other changes he wants to make, we can discuss them."

Sheffield United's Max Lowe in action for Nottingham Forest: Alex Livesey/Getty ImagesSheffield United's Max Lowe in action for Nottingham Forest: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sheffield United's Max Lowe in action for Nottingham Forest: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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With Lowe, as things stand, returning to United for pre-season training this summer, the Blades have three recognised left-backs on their books. Ben Osborn, the midfielder who can also fill in at wing-back, has also seen his contract at United extended by a further 12 months.

The dilemma for Blades

Enda Stevens turns 32 in July and has a year left on his contract, while Rhys Norrington-Davies is 23 and a senior Wales international.

Lowe has two years left on his United deal, with most Blades players’ contracts containing a clause allowing the club to extend them by a further season – meaning United should be in a strong negotiating position should Forest test their resolve with a further bid for the 25-year-old.

“It's up to Paul,” added Bettis, on United’s squad reprofiling.

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“We have got three players in that position and in an ideal world we probably need two of the three.

“There is no pressure from our side for Paul to sell Max. Paul likes to keep the squad balanced and if there is a potential to sell one of those players and use that money elsewhere in the squad, that may be something that gets considered.

"We are not sitting here at the moment telling Paul he needs to sell Max.

“All players have a price tag and if an offer comes in and it exceeds our valuation, we’ll look at it and talk to Paul about it.

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“Because potentially those monies could be used better in other areas of the squad if we sold that player. I can’t sit here and say no players will be sold, but I’m under no instruction to sell players.”

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