The truth behind Sheffield United's move for former Chelsea midfielder

The reason behind Sheffield United’s decision not to pursue a deal for John Swift has been revealed, after it emerged Chris Wilder and his coaching staff instructed negotiators acting on their behalf to stand firm on their valuation of the midfielder during talks with Reading.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 5:15 pm

Swift appeared destined to join United earlier this summer when Wilder, aware John Lundstram had yet to extend his contract at Bramall Lane, included him on a list of names designed to strengthen the South Yorkshire club’s squad ahead of the new campaign.

Although Swift is known to have been interested in the move, recognising it was an opportunity to play Premier League football for the first time since 2014, United’s interest subsequently cooled when Reading’s demands became clear.

Sources within the game have told The Star United were prepared to pay around £3.5m to acquire the 25-year-old’s services, but refused to be drawn into an auction after learning Reading wanted more than double that amount.

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Although Wilder has never commented publicly on the matter, or officially confirmed Swift was a target, he has previously reaffirmed his commitment to delivering value for money in a transfer market which remains fiercely competitive despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The club is the most important thing and we always look after its money as if it were our own,” he said at the beginning of the new campaign. “When we look at someone, we always have a figure in mind and we won’t go above that. I don’t think it would be right to do that, because we have to be sensible and we will always be sensible. We want to be competitive but we’ll never do anything to put the club at risk.”

Although the Lundstram situation remains unresolved, United, who return to action following the international break against Fulham on Sunday, eventually decided against drafting in direct competition for the former Oxford and Everton man. Lundstram has featured in all of United’s league outings since competition resumed last month and is expected to face Scott Parker’s side, who also enter this weekend’s fixture searching for their first point of the campaign.

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Reading's John Swift counts Sheffield United among his list of admirers: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

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Chris Holt, Football Editor