Sheffield United are poised to unveil John Brayford as their latest new signing before this afternoon’s FA Cup tie at Preston North End, writes James Shield.
The Star understands that talks between Bramall Lane’s hierarchy and Cardiff City, the defender’s parent club, reached a positive conclusion last night with a seven figure sum being negotiated for his services.
Although both United and their counterparts in Wales have refused to divulge details of those discussions it is believed Brayford, who made 20 appearances for Nigel Clough’s side during the 2013/14 campaign, has also agreed personal terms and could attend the fourth round contest at Deepdale.
Russell Slade, the City manager, admitted he had lost the battle for the 27-year-old’s services yesterday after revealing United had been granted permission to approach the player’s representative.
Informed a bid, thought to be in the region of £1.5m, had been tabled, Brayford is then believed to have confirmed he wanted to rejoin the team he helped reach the semi-finals of the competition last season.
Brayford will be joined at United by Paul Coutts and Kieron Freeman who completed their respective transfers from Derby County yesterday.
Coutts said: “This wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to turn down. I’m coming to a great club of real stature and I obviously know the manager well from his time at Derby.
“The great thing about Nigel Clough is that he gives it to you straight. He leaves you no room for doubt about how he wants you to play and the work ethic he expects.
“If you meet those standards and adhere to them, then he’ll reward you. If not, then he’ll tell you in no uncertain terms.
“We’re all men and you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Clough took charge of United 15 months ago after leaving the iPro Stadium and Coutts, a former Scotland under-21 international, added: “Kieron is a good lad and it’s a great move for him too. He’s a very good young player and, like me, is really pleased to be here.
“The first thing we’ll be looking to do is helping to try and bail down one of the play-off places in League One and, if possible, still try and get automatic. I know that might look like a challenge but you just never, ever know in this game and so, come what may, you should never give up and show the right character.”