A loan deal, maybe for the season, could prove the most viable way for Sheffield United to bring back Billy Sharp.
Otherwise, it’s hard to make the figures add up.
A fee of around £500,000 is not the problem.
It may be a bone of contention in West Yorkshire, but good sources keep suggesting Sharp is on around £20,000 a week at Leeds which equates to £1m for his last season on contract.
That’s also equivalent to the value of contract the Blades might have in mind – over THREE years.
Still not to be sniffed at for League One and around the top of United’s pay ceiling.
However much Billy wants this move (and lingering speculation suggests he’s as keen as Nigel Adkins), it would be naive to think he’d walk away from the kind of money in his current deal.
Equally, Leeds are hardly going to accept £500,000 and then pay up the player, leaving themselves out of pocket.
And it goes without saying that the Blades aren’t going to cough up £1.5m before they start talking terms to a 29-year-old.
So my money would be on some sort of temporary transfer – perhaps a loan fee and an agreement to pay a portion of Sharp’s Elland Road wages, with a permanent move further down the line.
Yes, Billy’s return does look like a deal waiting to happen.
All the parties seem willing to some degree, keeping it on the table. But it’s far from a simple process, even if I, for one, still wouldn’t bet against it.