Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has revealed John Lundstram has turned down the club’s offer of a new contract and looks set to leave Bramall Lane.
Lundstram is in the final year of his existing deal, with Wilder keen to keep the midfielder. However, negotiations to extend his stay have been going on for months and the Blades’ latest offer has been rejected.
It seems likely the club will now try to sell the 26-year-old in the January transfer window, rather than him leaving as a free agent next summer.
Burnley and Crystal Palace have been linked with a move for the player while Rangers are also reportedly interested. Lundstram can sign a pre-contract agreement with teams outside of England from January.
“It’s been very frustrating for myself, personally. I want John Lundstram to stay and we have been in discussions for a number of months regarding him stopping at the football club,” said Wilder, whose side host Manchester City on Saturday.
“It’s not a situation I’ve had to encounter many times before here, players going into the last year of their contract. Obviously there were talks gong on before then as we don’t act like that as a football club.
“We have offered him a very good contract that is up there with the top players at the club and he has made the decision with his agent that he doesn’t want to sign, and I respect that.
“We feel it is a very good offer but there are always two sides to every story and John and his agent feel that they maybe want to negotiate elsewhere, so that’s where it’s at.
“He is a Sheffield United player and still up for selection, but the three options are straight forward for me.
“He runs down his contract, and he has every right to do that, which is not ideal for us. We try to recoup some value for the player in the January window, or the best option for the football club is he sign’s the new contract – which doesn’t look like it will happen and that’s unfortunate.
“He most likely wants to run his contract down, so we will ask for or invite offers for a very good player who did well for us in the Premier League last season.”
Lundstram has started all six of the Blades’ Premier League games this season and has been an integral part of the club’s success in recent years. He moved to Bramall Lane from Oxford in 2017 and helped Wilder’s team win promotion from the Sky Bet Championship two years later.
Asked if not signing a new deal might affect whether he now plays in the team, Wilder said: “My attitude towards it is I’ll move on and not think about it too much.
“I have to concentrate on the contracted players here at the football club who want to commit and sign here.
“I’ve got to make a decision on that and I’ve got to look at it in the short, medium and long term. The players who have committed to us, should I side behind those or a player who doesn’t want to sign for the football club?
“But I believe that if John Lundstram does play he will give us his best, and I wouldn’t pick him if he wasn’t in the right frame of mind.
“I am very frustrated about that. Cards on the table, I believe John should have signed it.”