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Sheffield United: John Egan has been signed to play alongside, not replace, Jack O'Connell

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton
Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton
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Sheffield United will tell Brighton and Hove Albion they have signed John Egan to play alongside Jack O'Connell, not replace him, if the Premier League club decides to consolidate its interest in the 24-year-old.

As The Star revealed earlier this month, Albion are monitoring O'Connell's situation at Bramall Lane as they look to bolster Chris Hughton's defensive options.

It is understood O'Connell is among a number of potential targets identified by scouts at the Amex Stadium, with Reading's Liam Moore already the subject of a concrete bid.

United broke their transfer record, which previously stood at £4m, to acquire Egan's services earlier this week following protracted negotiations with Brentford. O'Connell, who also played at Griffin Park before arriving in South Yorkshire.

Wilder has told United's hierarchy he expects the two men to form a formidable partnership in the Championship next term and, with O'Connell recently agreeing a new four-and-a-half year contract, is confident he will not lose the former England youth international.

"This club can go all the way," O'Connell said after putting pen to paper on his new deal midway through last season. "The gaffer has recruited well in terms of every player in the changing room being a winner."

Albion offered Reading an initial £8m plus assorted add-ons for Moore, only to be informed they valued the 25-year-old at almost double that amount. Although Albion are yet to make another approach, sources on the south coast have confirmed they could attempt to re-open talks shortly.

Like O'Connell, Moore has made no secret of the fact he eventually wants to play in the top-flight but, with Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy near permanent fixtures on Hughton's team sheet, accepts he would either be forced to play out of position or spend long periods on the bench if he moves to Sussex.