The steps that could lead Sheffield United back to one of their leading transfer targets

Sheffield United could decide to resurrect their interest in Reading’s John Swift if John Lundstram leaves Bramall Lane during next month’s transfer window.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 6:01 am

Swift was one of United’s leading targets earlier this year as Chris Wilder, frustrated by Lundstram’s refusal to sign a contract extension, looked to bolster his midfield.

Although The Star understands Wilder later instructed United to withdraw their offer for Swift rather than be drawn into an auction, the 53-year-old will be tempted to try and lure Reading back to the negotiating table should Lundstram depart before his deal expires at the end of the present campaign.

Despite being offered what has been described as “significantly improved terms” by one Bramall Lane insider, Lundstram and his representative have steadfastly refused to put pen to paper - prompting speculation they have already reached, or are close to reaching, an agreement with a rival club.

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Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, is a huge admirer of Reading's John Swift, as The Star first revealed over the summer: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

Wilder, whose side travels to Southampton this weekend still searching for its first win of the Premier League season, recently told The Star he would prefer to sell Lundstram in January rather than allow the former Oxford player to leave for nothing.

If Wilder gets his wish - and with Lundstram still a regular member of United’s matchday squad - that would require him to identify a replacement, alongside the centre-half he is chasing to provide cover for the injured Jack O’Connell.

“That’s the main one but there’s another area (of the pitch) we’re probably going to be looking at as well,” Wilder admitted when he outlined his recruitment plans to journalists last month.

United’s interest in Swift has been complicated by the fact they plan to broker temporary rather than permanent signings before the latest deadline, with Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo known to boast admirers among Wilder’s board. However, that could change if they receive a fee for Lundstram, allowing coaching staff to reinvest any monies received.

Reading's John Swift attracted interest from Sheffield United before the start of the new season: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

Swift, aged 25, is recovering from a hamstring complaint but is expected to return to action before Christmas. Aston Villa are also thought to be keen on the former England under-21 international, who started his career with Chelsea.

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Manchester United's Marcos Rojo (L) is another player with admirers at Bramall Lane: Alex Livesey/Getty Images