Sheffield United are close to completing a loan deal for Bayer Leverkusen defender Panagiotis Retsos, according to the Daily Mail.
The Blades will pay a £600,000 fee to secure Retsos on a temporary basis until the end of the season. That is £100,000 more than they paid Nottingham Forest to land fellow centre-back, Jack Robinson, on a permanent transfer.
Chris Wilder revealed the fee for Robinson was £500,000, after he arrived at Bramall Lane on a two-and-a-half year deal from Forest earlier in the January transfer window.
However, Retsos is more of a coveted asset. The 21-year-old moved to Leverkusen from Olympiacos in the summer of 2017 for £15.75m and was described by sporting director, Rudi Voller, as having “special attributes.”
Retsos made an instant impact at the BayArena that first season, playing 28 times in all competitions. Yet injury ruled the Greece international out for almost the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign.
The South Africa-born Greek – who has played five times for his country – has only recently returned to full fitness.
What will Retsos bring to Sheffield United?
Retsos is a versatile defensive player, with the ability to play anywhere across the back four. This means that Wilder is likely to view him as competition in the overlapping centre-back roles.
This was one of the specific positions the club were targeting to improve in January. Robinson has since arrived as left-sided cover for Jack O’Connell in Wilder’s three-man central defence.
It is therefore likely that Retsos will act as backup to Chris Basham on the right side. Another new signing, Jack Rodwell, can also fill in there – as he showed against AFC Fylde in the FA Cup earlier this month.
It could be a busy end to January for United, with them expected to complete two other deals as well. Sander Berge has been pictured meeting Wilder ahead of his move from Genk, while a deal to sign Richairo Zivkovic from Changchun Yatai is also close.