Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has insisted that defender Jack O’Connell is not for sale.
Brighton were prepared to pay £6m for O’Connell, after their pursuit of Reading’s Liam Moore stalled, but Wilder has told Hughton the 24-year-old will not be leaving Bramall Lane.
Sheff Utd vs Swansea
August 4, 2018, 5:15pm
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“We’ve had bids from Brighton but he is not for sale,” said Wilder, ahead of his side’s opening game of the season against Swansea, live on Sky Sports Football.
“They keep calling but I’ve spoken to Chris Hughton, who is a fantastic guy – in football circles there is nobody better than him, experienced and down to earth.
“But we’ve said to Chris that Jack is not for sale. He has recently signed a four-year contract.
“I’ve spoken to Jack and he will be in our team on Saturday.”
Hughton is chasing a centre-back to add to his defensive options, and has turned to O’Connell, who was a key player for Sheffield United last season, appearing in all 46 Championship matches.
The 24-year-old joined Sheffield United from Brentford in the summer of 2016 and helped them win promotion to the Championship in his first season at the club.
Moore had handed in a transfer request at Reading earlier in the week to try to force through his move to Brighton, but Reading are holding firm after turning down three bids for Moore, worth up to £8m.
Brighton have had a busy time in the current transfer window, with eight players arriving, and 10 departing the south coast club.