Wilder Lines Up Portsmouth Left Back
Sheffield United, as plans for next seasons Championship return get underway, could be about to clinch the second signing of the week? Portsmouth's Enda Stevens may be snapped up?
United, having confirmed the return of Ched Evans, are thought to be closing in on the free transfer signing of Pompey's former Aston Villa left back Enda Stevens, who will be drawn to Bramall Lane by the prospect of second tier football.
The left back, winner of Pompey's Player and Players' Player of the Year awards, comes highly rated and would leave a big spot to fill in Paul Cook's League 2 winning side, as our friends at Vital Portsmouth inform us.
League one champions Sheffield United are going to sign Pompey Player of the Year, also Players' Player of the Year for a second year running, Enda Stevens, who could come up against former club Aston Villa next term.
The News has said Pompey's efforts to retain the Irishman, something I thought could actually happen to be honest, look as if they'll fail with him 'set to quit' the Blues when his contract expires.
Stevens, named as part of the PFA Team of the Year for league two, has been superb for Pompey since his arrival from Aston Villa in 2015 but, as much as Paul Cook wants to keep him, the Blues cannot compete with the wages on offer from Sheffield United, possibly more importantly to Stevens, Championship football.
Yes, this is disappointing but players come and players go - if Stevens wants to leave, as much as we'll miss him, so be it. Admittedly, let's not beat about the bush or try to play this down, the loss of one of the best left backs in the Football League is a blow, leaving a big void to fill, but it is what is it.
Brandon Haunstrup has always been highly rated at Fratton Park, maybe his chance can now come? Well, assuming he's offered a new Pompey deal, which I'd expect he will, and goes on to sign it?
It's a shame Stevens doesn't want to stay, assuming he definitely does move on, but best of luck to him at Bramall Lane, where he'll link up with his former Pompey teammates, all on loan at Fratton last season, Marc McNulty, Caolan Lavery and Kieron Freeman at Sheffield United - the latter endured a miserable spell in 2015-16 but Freeman's been top class for the Blades this season, strange isn't it...
Used courtesy of Vital Portsmouth.
The signing of Stevens, 26, which would officially go through when his contract expires in the summer, will add to that of Evans, the Welshman had his return to United confirmed on Monday.
Chris Wilder, assuming this deal for Stevens does indeed go through, is certainly looking to add strength in depth to the United squad sooner rather than later. One of the top performers in League 2 this season wasn't expected to have any problem stepping up to League 1, but would about the Championship?