Sheffield United: Blades confirm loan bid for goalkeeper

George Long has attracted interest from rival clubs: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
George Long has attracted interest from rival clubs: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Sheffield United will add a new goalkeeper to their summer wish-list if George Long is allowed to leave Bramall Lane on loan.

Chris Wilder confirmed he has been approached by a number of clubs who want to sign the 23-year-old ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

Ben Whiteman has joined Doncaster Rovers on loan. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Ben Whiteman has joined Doncaster Rovers on loan. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Although United do not want to sell Long, who made five appearances for United last term, they are prepared to sanction a temporary transfer amid concerns his development could be hampered by spending another season on the bench.

Having placed fellow Steelphalt Academy graduates Ben Whiteman and David Brooks with Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield, Wilder acknowledged coaching staff are working on deals which could see other members of the squad which lifted the League One title depart before United make their Championship return.

“A few of the lads are on holiday but I’m sure, when they come back, things will get moving,” he said. “There’s been enquiries about George (Long), Matt (Done) and Chris (Hussey). And James Wilson too. Obviously the youngster boys, we expect them to go out on loan. Two of those have been tied-up with Ben and Brooksy. We’ve got a decision with Lou Reed to make as well.”

Wilder’s plans for Long could hinge upon United’s ability to recruit a replacement before they report back for training next month.

England international David Brooks is heading to Chesterfield

England international David Brooks is heading to Chesterfield

Simon Moore remains the club’s first choice goalkeeper but, while youngster Jake Eastwood is highly-regarded by Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill, they would prefer to tackle the likes of Aston Villa and Fulham with a more experienced understudy. Indeed, United are aware that completing a placement elsewhere would also accelerate his progress.

“I’m not surprised there is interest, because they are good players,” Wilder said. “When you move up, you lose players who maybe havn’t played a much as they would have liked. And then you bring in others, to strengthen and help other things you are trying to do.”

“Ideally, you want all of the young lads being out there and playing if they can,” he added. “Because that’s how they really begin to learn, whether that be here with us or elsewhere.

“It’s a balancing act and we’ll do what’s right for them and also for the football club as a whole. We want to bring them on, bring them through but, at the same time, we don’t want to leave ourselves short either.

“You can get it right though, we’ve shown that in the past.”