Leeds United: Blades target Sharp stays in frame for Whites friendly

Billy Sharp is continuing to prepare for Leeds United’s first summer friendly despite claims that Sheffield United are closing in on a deal to sign him.

By Phil Hay
Wednesday, 8th July 2015, 11:00 pm
Leeds United striker Billy Sharp. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Leeds United striker Billy Sharp. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Sharp trained with Leeds’ squad at Thorp Arch yesterday amid reports that Sheffield United had tabled a £500,000 offer for the 29-year-old striker.

Sources at Elland Road are denying that any fee has been agreed for Sharp and the forward is expected to feature in United’s opening pre-season game at Harrogate Town tomorrow.

Sharp’s future has been the subject of constant speculation this summer with Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic both interested in signing him.

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His contract with Leeds has a year left to run and United could allow him to move on 
after adding Chris Wood and Lee Erwin to their group of strikers.

Sheffield United boss Nigel Adkins fuelled talk of a switch to Bramall Lane on Tuesday, telling the BBC: “Billy Sharp’s an excellent player who I’ve always admired and always liked.

“He’s a Leeds United player at this moment in time and that’s all I can say.”

Adkins worked previously with Sharp at Scunthorpe United, Southampton and Reading and the striker is a popular figure at Sheffield United having played there in two previous spells.

Wigan, however, are keen on landing him after their relegation from the Championship and the YEP understands that the DW Stadium is Sharp’s most likely destination if Leeds opt to sell him.

He was one of United’s most high-profile recruits last summer but failed to hold down a regular place in their line-up, starting 17 league games and scoring five goals.

Sheffield United’s interest in him heightened suggestions that Sharp might be used by Leeds to secure Blades winger Jamie Murphy, a player who United have been monitoring.

The two clubs are at odds over Murphy’s value, however, reducing the prospect of the 25-year-old Scot coming to Elland Road.

United head coach Uwe Rosler has made four additions to his squad since taking charge in May and Leeds remain in the market for a left winger, a holding midfielder and a second-choice goalkeeper.

Pescara midfielder Birkir Bjarnason – a player linked with Leeds for the past two months – is close to completing a move to Swiss side Basel.

Leeds are believed to admire the attacking midfielder, who played under Rosler in Norway, but were always likely to invest in a more defensive player.

Rosler’s squad are due to train again today ahead of the start of their pre-season schedule at Wetherby Road tomorrow night.

The fixture is the first of two in England before Leeds fly to Austria for a week-long training camp near Salzburg. A crowd of around 3,000 is expected at Wetherby Road.

Leeds, meanwhile, have been handed another televised fixture after their visit to Middlesbrough in September was chosen for a Sky Sports broadcast.

United’s clash at the Riverside has been moved to a 1.15pm kick-off on Sunday, September 27 – the fifth game rearranged for television purposes.

Leeds will be screened four times in August during Championship clashes with Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County and a League Cup tie at Doncaster Rovers.