NIGEL CLOUGH admitted last night that Sheffield United are planning for life without Harry Maguire as the defender was believed to be undergoing a medical with Hull City.
The 21-year-old has been the subject of a fierce tug-of-war this summer since the Tigers made their interest known in June.
Just last week, the Blades rejected a third offer from the Premier League club – believed to be around £2m up front that could rise by an additional £1.75m in add-ons – and insisted that Maguire would start the season at Bramall Lane if their asking price was not met.
This prompted Steve Bruce to declare over the weekend that Hull would look elsewhere, as soundings were made with regards to taking Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson to the KC Stadium on loan.
Yesterday, however, a turnaround saw United reveal in the morning that they had “reluctantly” accepted the bid due to Maguire having made it clear that he wanted to leave.
This initially led to Hull releasing their own statement, indicating that the club had now opted to look elsewhere.
Behind the scenes, though, the Tigers made it clear Bruce was keen to resurrect the deal and Maguire is believed to have been in East Yorkshire last night for a medical.
Blades manager Clough said: “Our thinking is that we have accepted the offer – reluctantly – and that it will progress as usual.
“I think the offer was slightly different but the technicalities are for the board. This has been hanging around for the past few months and now we move on.”
Clough could not hide his disappointment at losing Maguire, who featured in all but five of the United manager’s games at the helm last term.
He said: “The deciding factor was Harry’s desire. We told him how much we wanted him to stay but his preference was for trying his luck with Hull. I always think it is best for a young player to be somewhere they will, or will have a very good chance of playing every week. I certainly don’t think another year with us would have done him any harm. But I am sure his representative has explained all of that to him.”
Also taking a medical with the FA Cup runners-up yesterday was Dundee United left-back Andy Robertson. A fee of around £2.3m had been agreed with the Scottish club last week.
Bruce hopes to be able to unveil both players ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Slovakia for the Europa League qualifier against FK AS Trencin.
Town and Blades both looking to increase incomers: Page 18.