What Sheffield United must pay to sign Terence Kongolo and why their search for defensive reinforcements could continue until later this month

Sheffield United know the amount they must pay in order to secure Terence Kongolo’s release from Huddersfield Town, after Chris Wilder identified the 26-year-old as the ideal player to help his team cope in Jack O’Connell’s absence.

Monday, 5th October 2020, 11:10 am

Although Wilder has made it clear he would prefer to complete his recruitment drive before tonight’s transfer deadline - framing discussion about United’s manoeuvres in this summer’s market within the window prescribed to Premier League clubs doing business between themselves - attempts to capture Kongolo will continue beyond that 11pm cut-off point if an agreement is not reached.

Speaking after Sunday’s defeat by Arsenal, which saw United continue their losing start to the new season, Wilder again addressed the O’Connell “situation” - emphasising the importance he has placed on drafting in extra cover for the centre-half, who recently underwent surgery to rectify a long-standing knee complaint.

Kongolo, capped four times by Holland at senior level, features on what is understood to be a three-man shortlist of names which also reportedly includes Preston North End’s Ben Davies.

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With United able to trade with EFL sides until October 16 as part of a temporary restructure designed to help football cope with the havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, officials at Bramall Lane prioritised brokering a deal for Rhian Brewster, the former Liverpool centre-forward, during the build-up to last weekend’s visit to north London. With Brewster arriving on Friday - United paying a club record fee in order to acquire his services - they are now free to focus their efforts on negotiations with Town, who are believed to be demanding around £8m for Kongolo. That sum is thought to cover the remaining balance the Championship side owe to his former employers Monaco, with new Town manager Carlos Corberan accepting Kongolo’s future does not lie at The John Smith’s Stadium. Indeed, he is known to have been training apart from the rest of Town’s squad since recovering from the injury which wrecked a spell on loan with Fulham last term.

According to one national newspaper, Preston value Davies at around £2m more even though his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Despite admitting there are no guarantees United will be able to engineer a breakthrough, the sheer volume of information new arrivals must take on board in order to master his 3-5-2 system means Wilder wants to use the international break to get them quickly up to speed.

Brewster was ineligible for selection at the Emirates Stadium, where David McGoldrick scored United’s first goal of the new campaign following earlier efforts from Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe.

Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder confirmed he wants to bring in another defender following his team's visit to Arsenal: David Klein/Sportimage

Barring injury or illness, Brewster will make his debut for United when newly promoted Fulham, who like United have lost their opening four fixtures of the new campaign, visit South Yorkshire on October 17. Scott Parker, Wilder’s opposite number at Craven Cottage, is also known to be searching for a new centre-half after describing head of football Tony Khan’s criticism of Fulham’s performances of late as “disappointing” and “unhelpful”.

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Huddersfield Town defenderTerence Kongolo is wanted by Sheffield United: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Chris Wilder welcomes former Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster to Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Ben Davies of Preston North End is also belieced to have attracted interest from Sheffield United: Alex Livesey/Getty Images