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Sheffield United know that they have a huge challenge ahead of them if they are to convince former star centre-back Phil Jagielka to return to the club this summer a full 10 years after his move to Merseyside to join Everton.
The Goodison Park club are going through an impressive recruitment drive at the moment and it appears Jagielka is no longer required at the club, with representatives of Blades boss Chris Wilder looking into the chances of re-signing the player this summer.
Sheffield United are now just one league below Everton, but as the new kids on the Championship block, they aren’t exactly hugely well-off financially. So the gap between what they can offer in terms of a salary to what the former England man earns now is huge.
Jagielka still has a year left on his current deal at Everton. Other Premier League clubs will not struggle to match his current wage so it looks as though Jagielka may keep his options open for now.
Sheffield United’s recruitment last summer was impressive and was the key reason why they ended up demolishing the rest of League One and stormed to the title. A new centre-back appears to be their priority this summer following Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s return to Wolves (who are pursuing other defensive options), and it seems like other players are on the wish list should Jagielka prove a step too far for the Bramall Lane club.
Ebanks-Landell himself may be the one who’d return if he finds out that Wolves’ new Portuguese manager has no place for him in the first team squad, and that may be an option that might interest United. Jagielka though is different class and still has a lot to offer at the top level, let alone the Championship.
The 34-year-old has made almost 350 appearances for Everton to go along with his impressive total of 40 England caps over the last ten years. Their academy graduate would be a hugely popular figure if he were to return.
The Blades’ pre-season programme will be getting underway before long, with the Championship season right around the corner and Chris Wilder would love to have a better idea of who will be starting at the back come kick-off time in August. The chances of signing Jagielka look fairly weak at the moment but should they manage to get him this summer, what a crucial piece of recruitment that could prove come next May.