According to The Sun, Sheffield United have made a £3m bid for Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Osborn.
Yet apparently Forest would want twice as much as that to sell Osborn, despite the fact he has entered the final year of his current contract.
Blades manager Chris Wilder is believed to want to save his money for other targets. Which is why such a relatively low bid for Osborn has been made.
New strikers remain Wilder’s priority, with both Swansea City’s Oli McBurnie and Neal Maupay of Brentford strongly linked.
Despite this there are other areas of his squad that need strengthening following promotion to the Premier League. And it could well be Osborn’s versatility that appeals.
Why would Sheffield United want Ben Osborn?
Wilder is keen to sign players from the Championship who he thinks can make the step up to the top flight. They also need to be young enough to develop and increase their value.
Osborn perhaps wouldn’t immediately jump to mind in this regard, although dig a little further and it actually makes a lot of sense.
The 24-year-old played under Aitor Karanka and Martin O’Neill last season in a variety of roles. Not always consistently in the starting XI, Osborn did make 44 league appearances in 2018/19.
Karanka initially used the former England Under-20 international as a left-back. When O’Neill took charge, Osborn generally operated further forwards in midfield.
The fact that he can play on the left flank in both defence and attack suggests that Wilder thinks he could act as adequate backup and competition for Enda Stevens.
The Blades utilise a 3-4-1-2 formation with wing-backs. Osborn’s experience as both a full-back and wide midfielder makes him a great candidate for this position.
Not only that but the Reds ace can also play centrally. With John Fleck, Oliver Norwood and John Lundstram the only options there currently, that could prove to be a useful asset.