SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades set for a long haul this summer

In demand: Nick Montgomery interests Millwall, Derby County and Burnley.                                                Picture: Steve parkin

In demand: Nick Montgomery interests Millwall, Derby County and Burnley. Picture: Steve parkin

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SHEFFIELD United are bracing themselves for a protracted round of transfer negotiations as Danny Wilson prepares to begin overhauling his first team squad.

Although Wilson, the United manager, would prefer to have the majority of his new acquisitions in place before next month’s tour of Malta, Bramall Lane’s hierarchy privately acknowledge the process could still be ongoing when the South Yorkshire club return to competitive action in August.

While several members of the team which lost the League One play-off final have attracted admiring glances from rival clubs, The Star understands that United are yet to receive firm offers for any contracted employees.

One of those, midfielder Nick Montgomery, is known to interest Millwall where he spent a brief spell on loan earlier this year.

However, with the Londoners likely to wait until other unconnected issues are resolved before deciding whether to submit a bid, Montgomery could still remain on the books when United report back for pre-season training shortly.

Derby County and Burnley, who are also weighing-up a move for Lee Williamson after his deal expired, are also believed to view the former Scotland under-21 international as a potential recruit while hometown club Leeds could yet re-enter the equation.

The lack of activity presents United with something of a conundrum as they would prefer to off-load some of Wilson’s higher-earners before committing themselves to any marquee signings.

But with Williamson, Kevin McDonald and Chris Porter all free to hold talks elsewhere, United’s budgetary constraints will be relaxed should they opt to reject the board’s offer of fresh terms.

“Some clubs are doing business but, for most, we’re looking at a chain reaction situation,” one of Wilson’s counterparts told this newspaper last night.

Nottingham Forest’s Steve Cotterill also holds Williamson’s talents in high regard while McDonald is not short of suitors having resurrected his career in South Yorkshire.

Wilson would prefer to retain the services of two players who impressed en route to Wembley.

However, he has also identified former Leeds defender Ben Parker and David Wotherspoon of Hibernian as prospective targets.