Sheffield United: Blades close to breakthrough in race for James

Tranmere Rovers's James Wallace
Tranmere Rovers's James Wallace

James Wallace has moved a step closer towards joining Sheffield United after sources in the North-West last night claimed that Tranmere Rovers are close to accepting the League One club’s offer for the talented midfielder, writes James Shield.

As The Star reported last week, United manager Nigel Clough wants to sign the former England under-20 international after being impressed by his performances since arriving at Prenton Park.

Clough, who announced Ben Davies and Chris Porter had agreed season long deals on Monday, acknowledged he faces competition from “quite a few other” interested parties as the battle for Wallace’s services intensifies.

Although the 22-year-old is effectively a free agent after his contract with Rovers expired, Rob Edward’s side are entitled to compensation under the terms of legislation governing the transfer of young players.

“We’ve got to sort things out with Tranmere before doing anything else,” Clough confirmed. “But we’re making progress in that regard and, from what I understand, I don’t think we’re too far away from doing that.

“There’s still work to do yet though and there’s a lot of people out there keen on James which doesn’t surprise us because he’s a very, very capable.”

Clough, who has reassured members of United’s development squad that the arrival of Andy Butler, Marc McNulty, Chris Basham and Jamal Campbell-Ryce will not hamper their prospects of graduating into the senior ranks, is nevertheless believed to be in pole position to capture Wallace after United reportedly held exploratory talks with his representative earlier this month.

Butler was officially unveiled at Bramall Lane yesterday having parted company with Walsall 20 days ago.

Wallace started his career with Everton and enjoyed loan spells with Bury, Stockport County, Shrewsbury Town, Stevenage and Rovers before crossing the Mersey on a permanent basis in 2012.

Born in Fazackerley, he made 19 appearances and scored two goals last season.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Wanderers will continue their pursuit of United’s Harry Maguire despite indications that fellow defender Richard Stearman is set to extend his stay at Molineux.

Kenny Jackett, Clough’s counterpart in the Black Country, has already seen two bids for Maguire, believed to total £1m and £1.5m, rejected by United’s board.

*Twitter: @JamesShield1