Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins has left the door open to an offer for Billy Sharp with Leeds United considering sacrificing the striker before the start of next season.
Adkins refused to rule out a bid for Sharp after weeks of speculation linking the forward with a return to Bramall Lane and Sheffield United winger Jamie Murphy with a transfer in the opposite direction. Scotland Under-21 international Murphy is a target under consideration at Elland Road as Leeds look to add an out-and-out left winger to their squad.
United are understood to be unwilling to meet the Blades’ current valuation of Murphy but Sharp could be used to strike a deal if Leeds head coach Uwe Rosler decides he is surplus to requirements for the forthcoming Championship term.
Adkins has previously worked with Sharp at Scunthorpe United, Southampton and Reading and in a radio interview yesterday he described the 28-year-old as an “excellent player I’ve always admired and always liked.”
Adkins said: “I’ve had Billy at Scunthorpe and Southampton and I took him on loan at Reading.
“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.”
Leeds invested a six-figure sum in Sharp last August, paying around £600,000 to buy him out of his contract at Southampton.
Sharp is under contract for another season but he cut a frustrated figure during his first season with United, starting 17 games and scoring five times.
Leeds have strengthened their attacking options considerably in the past month, signing Lee Erwin from Motherwell and paying more than £2.5m to recruit Chris Wood from Leicester City.
United also have Mirco Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara, Steve Morison and Nicky Ajose as options up front.