It’s looking increasingly unlikely Sheffield United will sign a new defender before Friday’s deadline, according to The Sheffield Star.

Manager Chris Wilder was hoping to bring in a replacement for Jack O’Connell in this window. O’Connell is expected to miss most of this season after having a knee operation.

It leaves Wilder with one less option at the back, but his targets are slipping through his fingers.

Terence Kongolo is on the verge of joining Fulham – reports Sky Sports – whom the Blades face in the Premier League on Sunday. Kongolo was on loan at Craven Cottage from Huddersfield Town last term and Scott Parker is readying a reunion.

United had doubts about the Netherlands international in any case. Medical tests revealed Kongolo may not have fully recovered from a foot injury suffered while with the Cottagers in 2019/20.

Other new defender options for Sheffield United

Preston North End v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship

(Photo by Kevin Barnes – CameraSport via Getty Images)

The other player identified by the Blades as an alternative to O’Connell is Ben Davies.

However, despite being out of contract next summer, Preston North End are refusing to budge on their £10m asking price.

That could change in January if the 25-year-old has still not signed a new deal, but Alex Neil is confident of retaining the centre-back’s services.

£10m is out of United’s price range, with them considering a loan-to-buy offer to try and get around it.

The only other option appears to be Bournemouth’s Diego Rico. Yet updates on that after the initial rumour appear to have gone quiet.

In O’Connell’s absence, Jack Robinson has been playing on the left side of the back three and is expected to start against Fulham this weekend as well.

If no one else is brought in, Enda Stevens could be switched to central defence as another option. Stevens played there during the Championship promotion campaign of 2018/19.

Summer signing Max Lowe could then fill in for the Republic of Ireland international at wing-back.

Have something to tell us about this article?