NIGEL CLOUGH last night reaffirmed Sheffield United’s stance that Harry Maguire will only be allowed to leave if the club’s valuation is met after revealing a new offer for the defender had been rejected.
Hull City lead the list of suitors interested in the 21-year-old, who earlier in the summer was the subject of two rejected offers of £1m and £1.5m from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
With Fulham also interested, Hull – who are confident they can add Maguire to a squad that will have to cope with both Premier League and Europe this season – are understood to have been behind the most recent bid. It is thought to have been in the region of £2m.
United, however, are believed to value their Academy product at closer to £3.5m and Clough insists the League One outfit will not weaken that stance.
He said: “We had another bid and that didn’t meet our valuation. So, for us, nothing has changed and we carry on as normal.
“We have been consistent with our stance all along. We have a valuation for the player, who has a year left on his contract.
“If that valuation is not met, he stays with us. And if he is available on August 9, he will be out there (at Bramall Lane) in front of 25,000 people.
“We won’t be budging (on the valuation), certainly not at this stage. We have been consistent on it all the way through with his agent. He knows exactly what the situation is.”
Maguire, who will still command a fee even when his contracts runs out next summer due to being under 24, upped the ante earlier this week with comments that made it clear he wants to move to the Premier League.
Asked if he was disappointed by the defender’s stance, Clough replied: “You get this with agents and representatives.
“I don’t know what the thinking (behind the comments) was. But what I will say is we are under no pressure to sell and that is why we can set a valuation that we don’t see as unreasonable. We understand Harry’s motives but he is still only 21.
“If he was 24, then I think it would be time to think about getting into a higher league. But he is only 21 and still has a lot of learning to do.
“He has had three good years in League One and wants to step up. But if it was my son asking what I thought, I would say, ‘If you jump up two leagues, you won’t play every week so maybe you are best staying where you are for a while’.”
Hull are keen to bolster their defensive ranks with Tottenham Hotspur’s Michael Dawson and Dundee United left-back Andy Robertson also among Bruce’s targets.
All three would not only boost City’s hopes on the domestic front but also in the Europa League, where a certain number of homegrown players must be in the squad.
Bruce warned towards the end of last season that the club would, if the personnel stayed the same, be restricted to just 21 players in European combat during 2014-15 rather than the usual 25.
That, though, is of no concern of Clough and the Blades. The Lane chief added: “I don’t think Harry is unhappy. We had a chat the other day and I said, ‘You do realise if the valuation isn’t met, you will be staying with us’. He said that was fine.”
Clough, meanwhile, has refused to move out a future move for Keiron Freeman despite Derby County recently turning down a bid from United for the defender.
Likewise, Cardiff City’s John Brayford, who had such a successful spell with the Blades last term, also remains on the club’s radar.
George Long is likely to head out on loan for the first half of the season after an unnamed club submitted an offer. Clough added: “I think he fancies it.”