SHEFFIELD UNITED are weighing up whether to trigger a release clause in Phil Parkinson’s contract after having a first approach for their manager rebuffed by Bradford City.
The Blades contacted their League One neighbours on Wednesday morning to ask permission to speak to the 47-year-old about possibly becoming Nigel Clough’s successor.
Mark Lawn, City’s joint chairman, rejected the approach but The Yorkshire Post understands a buy-out clause was inserted in the three-year deal Parkinson signed in 2013 that would allow a rival club to speak to the Bantams’ chief.
So far, United have not activated that condition by agreeing to meet the fee. It is believed, however, that Parkinson is highly regarded by many among the Bramall Lane hierarchy for his work at the helm of Bradford.
Parkinson is a hugely popular figure among City supporters and someone the board of the West Yorkshire club are keen to retain, and it remains to be seen whether he would be open to an approach.
But there are likely to be appealing elements to the Blades’ vacancy, not least a wage bill believed to be almost double the £2.5m with which he operated at Valley Parade last term.
The fact United were able to spend £1.5m on one transfer last January also contrasts sharply with the fact Parkinson fielded a team for much of last season that cost just £7,500 to put together.
Uncertainty over the on-going attempts by Gianni Paladini to take over the Bantams could also be a factor with Parkinson having worked well with Lawn and fellow co-chairman Julian Rhodes since being appointed in August, 2011.
On that potential buyout, Paladini’s exclusivity period was extended by a month at the start of May so the clock is ticking on whether the Italian can get a deal done before Monday’s deadline.
The former QPR chairman, who recently failed in an attempt to buy Birmingham City, is understood to have spent the past couple of weeks dealing with the stringent requirements that are now demanded by the Football League before a takeover can be granted.
Clarity is needed, not least because the uncertainty is in danger of affecting City’s preparations for next season. No contracts, for instance, can be offered during this impasse.
Chesterfield are believed to have taken advantage of this to make their interest known in out-of-contract striker Jon Stead.