The weapon Manchester United could use to try and steal a march in the race for Sheffield United protegee

Although it will have come as a surprise to some that Manchester United are among those clubs reportedly monitoring Kyron Gordon’s situation at Sheffield United, officials tasked with running Old Trafford’s youth programme have long been aware of the youngster’s potential.

Two members of staff there, Nick Cox and Travis Binnion, previously worked in South Yorkshire before crossing the Pennines and will be appreciative of the defender’s talents.

Reigning Premier League champions Liverpool and Leeds have also been linked with moves for Gordon when United’s relegation from the top-flight is shortly confirmed.

However, if any official approaches materialise, United hope the promise of first team opportunities in the Championship next term would persuade Gordon’s agent that their client’s best interests are served by remaining in South Yorkshire.

Paul Heckingbottom has worked extensively with Sheffield United's young players: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

With their former manager Chris Wilder promoting Gordon and his team mates Iliman Ndiaye, Zak Brunt and Antwoine Hackford through the ranks earlier this term, United have made reinvigorating their development programme a priority next season as the club prepares for its return to the Championship.

After placing under-23’s coach Paul Heckingbottom in caretaker charge, United will tell Wilder’s permanent successor to make nurturing Bramall Lane’s next generation one of their top priorities.

One of the candidates under consideration, Oostende’s Alexander Blessin, previously worked on RB Leipzig’s development programme. Another, former Watford and Fulham chief Slavisa Jokanovic, worked extensively with up-and-coming professionals at Craven Cottage.

Although the exact extent of their interest is unknown, Manchester United Liverpool and Leeds would all consider Gordon as a potential member of their own under-23 sides rather than a first team squad member.

With the same post-Brexit legislation threatening to complicate United’s pursuit of Blessin forcing established PL outfits to change their approaches towards recruitment, they are increasingly expected to look closer to home when purchasing potential rather than overseas.

Although those playing regularly in one of Europe’s leading divisions are virtually guaranteed to receive a permit, others at the beginning of their careers face more difficulty when attempting to earn moves to England.

That is expected to see the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool search closer to home when they bolster the options at their disposal.