Sheffield United have opened talks with arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday about signing Caolan Lavery, The Star can confirm.
Sources at Bramall Lane last night revealed they expect Lavery, a former Northern Ireland under-21 international, to officially join Chris Wilder’s team next week.
Despite leaving Hillsborough earlier this summer, Wednesday will be entitled to compensation when Lavery’s move is processed although the exact amount could be decided by a Football League tribunal if the two clubs fail to agree a fee.
Unveiling Lavery, who scored four goals in 11 starts after joining Portsmouth on loan last season, would represent a welcome boost for Wilder after seeing attempts to bolster his defensive options stall.
Craig Morgan appeared destined to be unveiled ahead of tomorrow’s game against Oxford before the deal, which had been provisionally agreed with Wigan Athletic, fell through due to personal reasons. Byron Webster is another confirmed target with a further approach likely despite Millwall’s initial refusal to sell. United are believed to be encouraged by reports the centre-half is interested in returning north after previously representing York City and Doncaster Rovers.
Wilder, speaking at United’s training complex yesterday, said: “I’ll go into it more after the window but we’ve spoken to people in this division and been quoted £1.5m and £750,000 for players. We aren’t in that market anymore. I’m not saying this to curry favour but the people here have backed me as they’ve always backed managers in the past. But, perhaps on occasion back then, the right controls weren’t in place with regards to expenditure. Those controls are there now and, quite rightly, that’s the case.”
Wilder has admitted goalkeeper George Long “wants to see what’s out there” after losing his starting place.