Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, last night refused to rule-out a move for Leeds centre-forward Billy Sharp, writes James Shield.
Adkins made the admission after confirming officials at Bramall Lane have held talks with several potential transfer targets since his arrival at Bramall Lane five weeks ago.
The Star understands that, although a formal approach has yet to be made, Sharp’s present employers are aware United would be keen to explore the possibility of resurrecting his partnership with Adkins following successful spells together at both Southampton and Scunthorpe.
“There are players I know that I have spoken with and some I have decided not to offer them something,” Adkins, who is also known to have monitored midfielder Martyn Woolford, said. “But those details will remain private.
“There will always be speculation about players and especially players I have worked with in the past. And, especially, players at the top end of the pitch and the defensive end.”
Sharp’s situation is complicated by the fact Leeds view United’s Jamie Murphy as a possible alternative should they fail to lure Michail Antonio away from Nottingham Forest. However, Sources close to Elland Road report that owner Massimo Cellino is unwilling to tempt United to the negotiating table by lodging a seven figure bid for the winger. Murphy’s contract was extended midway through last term. Sharp, a former United player, also interests Wigan Athletic.
Adkins, despite acknowledging he is an admirer of the 29-year-old’s talents, refused to shed further light on the list of targets United have compiled following the recent appointment of Lee Turnbull as chief scout.
Asked about the progress of United’s recruitment plans in general, Adkins replied: “There has to be a balance to the squad. Obviously, those conversations have been going on behind the scenes and will continue to go on.
“But, first and foremost, we need to understand what we have got. We have a big squad of players and it is important to have a look at those we have got. By that, I mean in game-time.”