Sheffield United signing Phil Jagielka makes a deal to land Middlesbrough’s Paddy McNair seem more unlikely.
The Blades confirmed on Thursday (July 4) that Jagielka had returned to Bramall Lane. The 36-year-old was released by Everton and comes back to South Yorkshire after 12 years at Goodison Park.
The arrival of Jagielka takes manager Chris Wilder’s quota of centre-backs to six. It therefore begs the question whether he is still interested in McNair?
This is after The Sun reported the Blades were keen on acquiring the Boro man in a £5m deal. However, this rumour emerged before the Jagielka deal was announced.
Do Sheffield United need Paddy McNair?
It could be argued that interest may remain because of McNair’s versatility. While generally considered a central defender, the Northern Ireland international has also been used extensively in midfield.
The Blades are short on personnel in the middle of the park following their promotion to the Premier League. John Fleck and Oliver Norwood helped them to second in the Championship in the role last term. Yet beyond them only John Lundstram offers cover following Paul Coutts’ move to Fleetwood Town.
Wilder may have already found a solution, though, as Ravel Morrison is currently on trial with the club. Former Manchester United midfielder Morrison is a free agent since leaving Swedish side Ostersunds.
The 26-year-old is with the Blades squad in Portugal as they undertake warm weather training in the Algarve.
McNair’s only other role is as a right-back. Again, Wilder appears to be well stocked in the position with George Baldock and Kieron Freeman his current options.
So while McNair previously seemed like a versatile target who could provide cover in a number of areas, it now seems doubtful whether £5m would be sanctioned for a player likely to be down the pecking order in all of them.