Sheffield United could restructure their bid for Martyn Waghorn after Ipswich Town conceded defeat in the battle to keep him at Portman Road.
United are prepared to make the 28-year-old their most expensive ever signing, tabling a club record £5m bid earlier this summer. Despite initially insisting Waghorn was not for sale,
Ipswich manager Paul Hurst finally admitted he is destined to depart after omitting him from the squad which faced Blackburn Rovers last weekend. Although Middlesbrough and Derby County are also tracking the centre-forward, and can afford to offer more for his services, United hope Chris Wilder's long-standing interest will persuade the player to reject their advances and choose South Yorkshire instead. Officials at Bramall Lane were last night investigating ways of sweetening the deal for Ipswich, with a revised payment structure thought to be among the proposals being considered.
Speaking after United were beaten by Swansea City on the opening day of the new Championship season, Wilder refused to blame his side's defeat on their struggle to negotiate Waghorn's release. But he did concede attacking reinforcements are required before the transfer window closes next week. Middlesbrough, who host United on Tuesday, are growing increasingly confident of securing Waghorn's services but Wilder has not given-up hope of capturing the former Rangers and Sunderland marksman.
"We've not got beat because we didn't have the relevant players," he said. "We've recruited really well I think. David (McGoldrick) was really good, John (Egan) was really good and the goalkeeper (Dean Henderson) made some great saves and was unfortunate with one of their goals. Woody (Ben Woodburn) came on to go as a '10' with Leon (Clarke) as a 'nine' and that was going to happen regardless. But we have to move it on and see if we can bring someone in because, from a long term point of view, if you want competition for places and fresh legs at key moments that's what we'll need to do."
Intriguingly, Wilder appeared to indicate United will continue their pursuit of Waghorn even if it proves impossible to secure his release before Thursday's deadline for permanent signings. English Football League clubs are still permitted to broker loans, including 'loan to buy' agreements, until the end of the month.
"It's still open," he said. "We're still looking and we're still light. If something moves, we are in a position to act. But we can't force these issues because we haven't got the dough to compete with those teams who, if they want someone, can just go 'there it is', 'yes'."