Sheffield United are refusing to accept defeat in their long-running pursuit of Southend’s Ryan Leonard.
According to The Echo, League One Southend rejected three bids from The Blades in the summer – and the paper claimed on Wednesday that they had dismissed the latest bid, worth around £700,000, with the January transfer window looming large.
The versatile Leonard, voted The Shrimpers’ Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, is out of contract in the summer but the club are determined not to let him go before then.
Although that does not mean Chris Wilder’s high-flying Sheffield United have given up hope just yet.
The Mirror’s live transfer blog (7th December, 9.05am) claimed that The Blades will now add another £50,000 onto their offer in an attempt to force Southend into a sale in the New Year.
It is understood that Wilder sees Leonard, a midfielder who can also play at right-back, as the perfect replacement for Paul Coutts, who could miss the rest of the season with a broken leg.
This is perhaps why Sheffield United are determined to sign Leonard now rather than just wait till the end of the season when he will be a free agent.
The Star, however, claimed that Wilder has a few alternatives in mind if Southend are willing to continue playing hardball over the next few weeks.