More Tommy Doyle, James McAtee transfer hope for Sheffield United as Man City launch £42m bid

Blades hopes of City deal receive potential boost
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Sheffield United’s hopes of re-signing one of last season’s promotion heroes on loan from Manchester City may have received another boost after the Premier League champions launched a big-money move for Wolves’ Matheus Nunes. City are also set to unveil Jérémy Doku as their latest signing in a £55m deal from Rennes.

Both deals will have obvious ramifications for both James McAtee and Tommy Doyle, pushing both men further down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium and potentially loosening City’s resolve to keep them around the building. Pep Guardiola is a big admirer of Nunes, having previously described him as “one of the best players in the world” and their move is another signal that they are looking to replace the injured Kevin De Bruyne from outside, rather than within.

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While McAtee has been involved in City’s squad in the early part of this season, coming off the bench in their opening-day win at Burnley and being part of their Super Cup win over Seville earlier this month, Doyle has not been seen in a City senior squad as of yet and didn’t go on their pre-season tour after being involved in England’s U21 European Championship win earlier this summer.

Asked recently if there was any prospect of Doyle returning for the upcoming season, boss Paul Heckingbottom said: “Yes. He’s someone I’ve always been in contract throughout – with Tommy and his agent – so yes.” But reinforcements at the top of the pitch have been the priority of late - amid moves for Cameron Archer and Facundo Pellistri, of Aston Villa and Manchester United respectively - and the fact United can only to loan one player from City at one time has led to inevitable speculation about McAtee.

Doyle is understood to be keen to return to Bramall Lane and test himself in the Premier League, while United were also linked with the pair’s City teammate Cole Palmer earlier this summer. The decision of Guardiola to target Doku and Nunes may be the clearest indication yet that both Doyle and McAtee do not feature in his immediate first-team plans, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Bramall Lane.