SHEFFIELD United spent last night applying the finishing touches to a battle-plan they hope will keep Jordan Slew, their precociously talented striker, at Bramall Lane.
The League One club rejected an undisclosed offer for Slew, known to have been tabled by Europa League contenders Fulham, just hours after Danny Wilson’s appointment as manager on Friday.
Although United officials informed their counterparts at Craven Cottage that, according to one source, they have “no intention of doing business”, Wilson and his board of directors now face an anxious wait to discover whether Mark Hughes’ side will elect to abort the bid or spark a war of attrition for the teenager’s services.
Having identified John Pemberton’s FA Youth Cup Final squad as an integral part of their efforts to win promotion next season, United are understood to have discouraged Fulham from pressing ahead with their efforts to sign a player who has made only seven appearances at first-team level.
Determined not to antagonise the situation, plc chairman Kevin McCabe and his colleagues yesterday remained tight-lipped about the tactics they hope will ensure Slew continues his development in South Yorkshire, even going as far as refusing to confirm whether or not a concrete enquiry has been made.
However, several possible scenarios could develop, depending upon Fulham’s determination and the wishes of the player.
United, who are almost certain to discuss the matter with Slew and his representative this week, could simply choose to ignore any further approach.
Or, should Slew’s advisers indicate they would be interested in exploring the possibility of moving to London, the Blades may tempt their client with an improved contract.
With Slew’s present deal believed to expire in 12 months, United would be entitled to compensation even if he becomes a free agent.
Wilson, who hopes to recruit Frank Barlow as his assistant, acknowledged that some senior members of the squad he inherited must be sold in order to cope with the financial cost of relegation.
Pemberton has urged United’s under-18s to concentrate on establishing themselves in Wilson’s starting 11 despite collecting admirers en route to their meeting with Manchester United.