Why Sheffield United's deadline-day move for Barcelona's Alex Collado broke down

Sheffield United’s move for Álex Collado broke down when the Barcelona youngster’s representatives moved the goalposts late on deadline day and made “unrealistic demands” of the Blades to get the deal done, The Star understands.

By Danny Hall
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 11:06 am

Collado emerged as a target for the Blades with manager Slavisa Jokanović keen to rebalance his squad and bring in some wingers, to give him the option of playing a 4-3-3 formation he experimented with early in his Blades reign.

A loan deal for the Spaniard was agreed with Barcelona and the player, who knew he was not in the plans of Barca boss Ronald Koeman, agreed to make the move to South Yorkshire.

But the move fell through shortly before Tuesday’s 11pm transfer deadline, when Collado’s camp attempted to change the terms of the deal – with the sums involved understood to be significant.

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United could theoretically revive their interest in the 22-year-old in January – although his representatives’ actions are likely to have endeared him too much to the Bramall Lane hierarchy – but the collapse of the deal will represent a significant blow to boss Jokanović as he faces the prospect of playing until January, at the earliest, without any specialist wide men.

The Blades can still sign free agents after the window closed, with Adlène Guedioura training with Jokanović’s men, and a similar loan move for Yann Karamoh also broke down on deadline day when the Parma winger failed to obtain the necessary work permit to be allowed to work in the UK thanks to post-Brexit trade restrictions.

The Star understands that is partly due to Parma’s Serie B status – players who perform in top leagues around the world are almost guaranteed to obtain a work permit, but Italy’s second tier does not count as a top league.

Ivan Rakitic of Sevilla FC battles for possession with Alex Collado of Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Camp Nou (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Karamoh underwent a United medical in France after agreeing to join Jokanović’s men for the rest of the season, but returned to the Ennio Tardini Stadium after the deal broke down. United did get the deadline-day signings of Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White and goalkeeper Robin Olsen, from Roma, over the line after securing Ben Davies and Conor Hourihane on loan earlier in the window.