Southend haven’t given up hope of retaining the services of Ryan Leonard, despite the Sheffield United target’s insistence that he wants to play in the Championship.
United’s seemed to have scored a breakthrough in their pursuit of Leonard earlier this week, when the 25-year-old’s agent admitted the midfielder was keen to test himself at a higher level.
But sources close to Southend suggest that Shrimpers chairman Ron Martin will not be bullied into selling the midfielder, also wanted by Millwall, and may risk losing him for nothing when his contract expires in June 2018.
“Ryan isn’t for sale,” Martin said.
“We understand Lenny’s wish to test himself at the next level, however the club wishes to be at the next level too and to achieve that objective it doesn’t make any sense to sell our influential players.”
Meanwhile, The Star understands Rotherham United are lining up a move for United’s transfer-listed striker Matt Done.
Done triggered a contract extension at Bramall Lane by featuring 35 times in United’s League One winning campaign, but was made available by Blades boss Chris Wilder as he prepares for life in the Championship.
The relegated Millers are keen on 28-year-old Done as they look to bounce back from League One at the first attempt, and are prepared to stay patient in their pursuit of the player.
“I think it will be one, probably, where we get to know how it turns out later in pre-season,” Matt Hamshaw, the Millers coach, told The Star.
“It could be a season-long loan or a permanent deal; whatever fits. It depends on Sheffield United, really.”
Done, Chris Hussey and James Wilson were transfer-listed after United’s promotion, while Scottish pair Marc McNulty and Stefan Scougall were released.
Meanwhile, United’s development squads will travel to Northern Ireland in pre-season to face Linfield, Bohemians U19s and Larne.
n More on Done: P41