Alan Biggs at Large: Sharp negotiations could bring Billy back to Sheffield United

Billy Sharp
Billy Sharp

When Sheffield United’s new boss talks about Billy Sharp – often and glowingly – there is always something crucial missing.

Well, two things. How much would he cost? And could the Blades afford him?

These are the key questions rather than whether Nigel Adkins would fancy signing his former Scunthorpe, Southampton and Reading striker. Which is a given or he would not have entertained the subject so openly.

Sources who should know tell me Sharp is on £20,000 a week at Leeds, maybe more, although many around Elland Road reckon a lot less.

Whatever, it’s going to be considerably in excess of United’s current pay ceiling.

This may be generous in League One but, after high player investments last season, you sense Adkins must juggle his resources.

Which in turn means Billy would need to bend to enter a third spell with his beloved Blades.

I don’t rule that out. There is the option of trying for a loan first, maybe leading to a permanent, or the offer of a longer deal, say three years, which would start much lower than his current terms and kick on with promotion.

Seems to me there is too much of a will for there not to be a way.

Adkins’ most pressing challenge otherwise might be keeping hold of winger Jamie Murphy.

With Brighton and Bristol City keen, the new manager tells me that he knew “certain discussions” had taken place, while stressing his desire to keep a proven match winner and player of the season at the club.