However, Birmingham did not want to lose their creative spark as they tried to mount a promotion push themselves.
As it was, a nine-point deduction for breaching EFL profitability and sustainability rules put an end to that hope. The £6m signing of Jota in the summer of 2017 actually contributed to that.
The Blues eventually finished 17th in the Championship table. Meanwhile, United went on to achieve automatic promotion to the Premier League.
The Blades did make an enquiry about the Spaniard last season, reports the Sheffield Star. Yet they were put off by both the valuation of the player and the 27-year-old’s wage demands.
But after returning to England’s top flight for the first time in 12 years, the South Yorkshire club are much healthier financially.
Manager Chris Wilder, his backroom staff and head of recruitment Paul Mitchell have already sat down to write their summer shopping list.
With the Sheffield Star also claiming an attacking midfielder is among the priorities, Jota may just fit the bill.
Who is Jota?
Full name Jose Ignacio Peleteiro Ramallo, the forward is a product of the Celta Vigo youth system. However, he made just five senior appearances for them before joining Brentford in the summer of 2014.
In three years at Griffin Park Jota played 78 times and scored 23 goals. This lead Birmingham to pay a club record fee in excess of £6m (BBC) for him. Jota arrived at St Andrew’s alongside Bees teammate Maxime Colin.
While he initially struggled after the move, under the management of Garry Monk he looked back to his best in 2018/19. Jota finished the campaign with 11 Championship assists.