Terms Everton place on Mason Holgate transfer should help Sheffield United get deal done
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Having previously worked with Paul Heckingbottom at Barnsley, the 26-year-old is understood to be excited about the prospect of resurrecting his partnership with United’s manager as officials at Bramall Lane investigate the possibility of a deal.
Members of United’s recruitment department have tracked Holgate’s situation at Goodison Park for some time, with the club first expressing an interest in acquiring his services four years ago. Although a deal proved impossible to broker then, the situation at Goodison Park has changed dramatically since then - meaning Heckingbottom’s employers now have a realistic chance of striking an agreement.
After being appointed last term, Everton manager Sean Dyche is expected to spend the summer reprofiling his squad following its tough but ultimately successful battle to avoid relegation. Holgate made only nine senior appearances last term and, with the Liverpudlians looking to offload players in order to comply with financial fair play regulations, that could see him follow the likes of Yerry Mina, Asmir Begovic and Tom Davies through the exit door; if only on a temporary basis.
With only around £20m to spend on fees and a number of other positions in need of strengthening, Heckingbottom would struggle to acquire Holgate permanently. But a number of well-placed sources on Merseyside say Everton will consider allowing him to depart on a permanent basis in order to free up some money.
United would have to stump-up a facility payment in order to push through the proposed move, together with agreeing to cover a sizeable percentage of Holgate’s wages. Crucially, however, Everton are not thought to be looking to recoup all of his salary.
That, coupled with the player’s relationship with Heckingbottom, will make them confident of beating Nottingham Forest to Holgate’s signature.
After preserving their top-tier status, Forest are in a position to cover more of the former England under-21 international’s pay. But if Holgate instructs his agent to negotiate a switch to United, Everton will take his wishes into account.