Sheffield United: Leading target is still in The Blades’ sights

Nigel Clough is very thorough when it comes to recruitment, says managing director Mal Brannigan
Nigel Clough is very thorough when it comes to recruitment, says managing director Mal Brannigan

Mal Brannigan has revealed Sheffield United remain on course to capture one of their leading transfer targets despite failing to force through a move before Monday’s deadline for permanent signings, writes James Shield.

And Brannigan, the League One club’s managing director, insisted only players “capable of improving our squad” will be considered for moves to Bramall Lane after mounting a passionate defence of its recruitment policy.

“There were three people we were looking at and I think one will be available on loan before Christmas” Brannigan told The Star. “Yes, there is a list and we will continue to work towards that but, when you look at the nature of some of the business that was done before the deadline, other avenues and options could also become open to us.”

With the emergency loan window set to open next week, Brannigan, confirming United had lodged “substantive” bids for a defender, defensive midfielder and centre-forward, added: “Identifying players here is a very thorough process. We have a list we are looking at and, in the main, we will stick by that.

“It’s always a case of us going to the market rather than the market coming to us. We want to use the market, as we have all summer when we’ve been very active, rather than be dictated by it.

“We can still achieve value with loans even though there is often a fee involved.

“Loans can be used to allow a player to connect with a club and allow everyone involved to reach a position whereby something permanent can be arranged at a later date.

“All of the players we looked at are with Championship clubs and all of them, in our opinion, would thereby improve our group.”

Nigel Clough, whose side will return to action against Rochdale later this month hoping to prolong its unbeaten run in all competitions, has refused to rule-out the possibility of brokering a short-term agreement for Harry Maguire if the former Redtooth Academy graduate leaves Hull City on loan.

Maguire, who commanded a £2.5m fee when he parted company with United less than two months ago, has yet to make a Premier League appearance for Steve Bruce’s side.

“Harry is Hull’s player and so they will decide what happens to him,” Brannigan said. “But, if he did become available, then we would probably make an enquiry to see what the exact situation was.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1