Sheffield United deadline day: Blades closing in on missing defensive piece

Sheffield United look set to beat Leeds United to Mason Holgate as their third and final senior signing of the window.

The versatile former England Under-21 international is reported to be having a medical ahead of a deadline-day move.

Leeds are understood to have made Burnley's Callum Roberts their priority target instead.

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Manager Chris Wilder had targeted a forward, a goalkeeper and a right-sided centre-back in the January transfer window. Ben Brereton Diaz and Ivo Grbic ticked the first two boxes, but the last has had to wait until deadline day.

VERSATILE: Former England Under-21 international Mason HolgateVERSATILE: Former England Under-21 international Mason Holgate
VERSATILE: Former England Under-21 international Mason Holgate

Complicating matters has been the fact Leeds have been in need of a new right-back and Yorkshiremen Holgate and Ben Godfrey, who are both at Everton, have been interesting both clubs because of their versatility. As a result, both clubs have had to look in to other options.

But the Blades' Premier League status looks to have held sway over the former Barnsley man, who is expected to cut short a loan at Southampton to move to Bramall Lane on loan until the end of the season.

Serious injuries to John Egan and Chris Basham have left Anel Ahmedhodzic as the Blades' only right-footed centre-back, and right-back George Baldock has had persistent calf trouble this season.

Holgate can also play left-back.

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Wilder had nothing to say on the matter on his Thursday press conference but Everton's Sean Dyche did.

"There's a possibility," he conceded. "It's in the process and we'll see. It is looking likely from their point of view and it's a very favourable deal for this football club."

Doncaster-born Holgate followed John Stones in moving from Everton to Barnsley after impressing in his debut 2014-15 season.

Holgate has made over 100 Premier League appearances for the Toffees – experience Wilder is very keen to tap into – but only four Championship starts for the Saints this season.

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Leeds only specialist right-back, Sam Byram, has been left-back all season. They allowed Luke Ayling to join Middlesbrough on loan this month, and sent Djed Spence back from his loan at Tottenham Hotspur, leaving midfielders Archie Gray and Jamie Shackleton covering the right-hand side of their back four.

Clubs have until 11pm this evening to complete this season's transfers.

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