Diego De Girolamo is believed to have been offered the chance to play Serie B football next season, writes James Shield.
But Sheffield United, who offered the Italy under-20 international a 12 month contract extension at the end of last season, remain confident he will choose to remain at Bramall Lane following the appointment of Nigel Adkins as manager.
Despite making less than 30 senior appearances since turning professional in 2012, De Girolamo is regarded as one of the most talented youngsters on the League One club’s books and attracted interest from both Manchester United and Manchester City after joining its Redtooth Academy.
The counter-bid, from an unnamed club competing in the second tier of his adopted country, is thought to have been made soon after De Girolamo revealed he wanted to leave South Yorkshire having failed to cement a place in United’s first team squad.
Nevertheless, a series of meetings between the teenager and his employers following the departure of Adkins’ predecessor Nigel Clough are thought to have prompted a change of heart.
Although De Girolamo, aged 19, is effectively a free agent after his previous agreement expired, United’s actions mean he would still command a significant transfer fee should a move elsewhere transpire.
Adkins is understood to have met with a handful of the players he inherited from Clough soon after being unveiled as the former England striker’s replacement nearly four weeks ago but preparations for the 2015/16 campaign are scheduled to begin in earnest on Monday morning.
United, who travel to Ilkeston for a friendly on July 18, expect to learn whether De Girolamo be staying put shortly. Newcastle and Hull City also feature among their opponents ahead of August visit to Gillingham.
De Girolamo was born in Chesterfield but qualifies for the Azzurrini by virtue of his Italian father.