Sheffield United are interested in signing Elias Cobbaut and Luke Woolfenden during the January transfer window.
That is according to the Sun, who report manager Chris Wilder is looking for cover in central defence.
Chris Basham, John Egan and Jack O’Connell are the preferred centre-back trio currently. They have helped the Blades to the second best defensive record in the Premier League this season. Only leaders Liverpool have conceded fewer than their 21 goals.
Yet beyond them options look a little sparse. Veteran Phil Jagielka is the experienced cover for Egan. But Wilder wants players who can operate in Basham and O’Connell’s overlapping centre-back roles.
Free agent Jack Rodwell signed in January and was used in the position for the 2-1 FA Cup third round win over AFC Fylde.
Beyond that, though, with Kean Bryan expected to follow Richard Stearman by leaving Bramall Lane, there is not much for Wilder to call on.
Sheffield United want Cobbaut and Woolfenden
That is why the South Yorkshire side have turned to these youngsters. Cobbaut is a left-sided central defender who currently plays for Anderlecht.
Woolfenden, meanwhile, has been impressing in League One this term with Ipswich Town.
Cobbaut joined his current employers from KV Mechelen 18 months ago in a £2.5m deal. The 22-year-old’s performances since earned him a call-up to the Belgium national side, making his debut in November in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Cyprus.
United have links with Belgian football because Jan van Winckel is on their transfer committee. It was Van Winckel’s connections that saw them sign Michael Verrips from Mechelen in the summer.
Due to him being left footed, Cobbaut would be natural competition for O’Connell. It’s believed it would cost around £7m to land the Belgian.
As for Woolfenden, the 21-year-old has made 20 league appearances in 2019/20 to help Ipswich to third in the table. Also a centre-back, it’s said it would take around £3m to prise him from Portman Road.