The competition Sheffield United face for James McAtee transfer as Man City man ‘eyes return’

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Blades keen on McAtee reunion ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline

Sheffield United face competition from Premier League rivals Wolves in their hopes of bringing James McAtee back to Bramall Lane ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline. The Manchester City youngster impressed on loan at United last season, alongside teammate Tommy Doyle, with the pair returning to the Etihad in the summer.

McAtee has been involved with City’s first-team squad in the early stages of this campaign but has only featured briefly off the bench on the opening day of the season and has been pushed further down the pecking order by the signing of £55m winger Jérémy Doku last week. United are keen to secure more attacking firepower in their bid to survive and are also keen on Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri on loan.

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McAtee’s success on loan at Bramall Lane last term has alerted a number of rival clubs and although City do not want to sell him, believing he is a star of the future, they would consider sanctioning another loan. According to reports today McAtee is also keen to return to South Yorkshire but boss Pep Guardiola has reservations about whether United would be a good fit this season, considering their battle to survive in the top-flight.

Celtic have also been credited with an interest alongside Wolves, who are negotiating with City about the future of midfielder Matheus Nunes, who is the target of an improved offer worth around £52m from City. Both Celtic and Wolves are also keen on midfielder Doyle, who also wants to return to Bramall Lane after last season’s loan.

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Before his side’s weekend defeat to City, which saw McAtee named on the visitors’ bench and receive a welcome reception from Blades fans ahead of kick-off, Heckingbottom was asked again about the possibility of re-signing the England U21 international. “It’s always down to the parent clubs,” he admitted. “We can speak to as many different players as we want, we have to get the player to want to come, the representatives, sometimes the families are involved.

“But we have to be respectful that all these players we are speaking to, apart from Tom Davies who had left Everton, are other people’s players. We want good relationships with lots of clubs but certainly, we want to make sure we do things right by everyone. That’s the difficulty with bringing players in. A lot of people need to be happy to get a deal done.”

A deal for Doyle would appear more straightforward, considering McAtee’s England U21 teammate has not featured for City since returning to his boyhood club, but Heckingbottom is leaning towards a need for more attacking options after signing free agent Davies following his Everton release. The Blades boss has not ruled out another move for Doyle, however, after keeping in touch with the player and his representatives throughout the summer.

“No, he’s not (playing) and he’s got one or two options,” Heckingbottom said of Doyle. “We know. I’ve been in touch with his representatives a lot and he has one or two options, so I’m not going to say yes or no.”

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