Bournemouth defender Diego Rico is now firmly on the radar of Sheffield United, reports Yorkshire Live.
It comes as the club have decided against a move for Terence Kongolo. The Blades had shown interest in Huddersfield Town’s Kongolo, but medical tests have shown up an issue with a foot injury suffered while on loan at Fulham last season.
Huddersfield had been keen to complete a deal with United for the Netherlands international – whom they value at £8m. But the South Yorkshire side are now looking elsewhere.
They are trying to sign a replacement for Jack O’Connell, with the centre-back set to miss most of the 2020/21 campaign after having a knee operation.
A move for Ben Davies is also being considered, with Preston North End asking for £10m.
Where would Diego Rico fit in at Sheffield United?
Rico would be a like-for-like replacement for O’Connell, having played in the same position for the Cherries this term.
Signed as a left-back from Leganes in the summer of 2018 for £10.7m (BBC Sport), the 27-year-old has featured on the left side of a back three for Jason Tindall’s team.
Rico can also operate as a wing-back, making the Spaniard a potentially versatile option for Chris Wilder.
In the absence of O’Connell, January signing Jack Robinson has been playing in place of the 26-year-old. A solid option, Robinson arguably doesn’t offer the same sort of dynamism in attack.
Wilder’s famed overlapping centre-back system encourages those flanking John Egan to push forwards when in possession.
With experience as a full-back, this is something that should come more naturally to Rico.
Deals for Premier League clubs to sign EFL players must be completed by the 5pm deadline on October 16.
Without O’Connell, the Blades have lost all four of their Premier League matches so far this season. In 2019/20, they had a defensive record that was only bettered by the top three sides.