Sheffield United get their man with capture of midfielder Ryan Leonard

DONE DEAL: Ryan Leonard who has signed a three and a half year contract with Sheffield United. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
DONE DEAL: Ryan Leonard who has signed a three and a half year contract with Sheffield United. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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SHEFFIELD UNITED have completed the signing of long-time target Ryan Leonard.

The Southend United midfielder, out of contract in June, had been on Blades manager Chris Wilder’s radar since last summer, with the Bramall Lane outfit having four bids turned down.

I cannot thank Southend enough for what they have done for me. But I felt the time was right for me to take the step up into a higher league.

Sheffield United’s new signing, Ryan Leonard

But the Blades have now finally landed the 25-year-old for a fee in the region of £700,000, with the 6ft 1in player - Southend’s player of the season for the past two campaigns - signing a three-and-half year deal.

The Blades reached a deal late last week, but the announcement was delayed, pending the successful completion of a medical.

On heading to the Championship promotion-chasers Devon-born Leonard said: “I am delighted to get it done and cannot wait to get started. It is going to be an honour to play for this club.

“I cannot thank Southend enough for what they have done for me. But I felt the time was right for me to take the step up into a higher league.”