Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Southend United’s chairman, Ron Martin, has again insisted Ryan Leonard will not be leaving the club this summer, despite persistent interest from Sheffield United.
Chris Wilder is keen to give Leonard an opportunity in the Sky Bet Championship, as he looks to bolster his squad ahead of their return to the second-tier.
However, despite the Blades’ interest, and Leonard’s ambitions of testing himself in the Championship, Southend are standing firm over any potential transfer, rejecting advances from Wilder’s side and Millwall – another club returning to the Championship.
When asked again about Southend’s stance of Leonard, Martin was bullish with his response, he said: “Ryan isn’t for sale.
“We understand Lenny’s wish to test himself at the next level, however the club wishes to be at the next level too and to achieve that objective it doesn’t make any sense to sell our influential players.”
Leonard’s form during the 2016/17 campaign, where he made 43 league appearances, has seen his reputation rise and Championship clubs beginning to show an interest in the 25-year old.
However, Phil Brown’s side are keen to keep Leonard at Roots Hall, having narrowly missed out on making the League One play-offs last season.
Southend finished seventh in the table, just one-point behind sixth-placed Millwall, who were eventually promoted to the Championship following a 1-0 victory over Bradford City at Wembley.
Wilder’s side finished 28-points ahead of Southend in the League One table, and have shown interest in Leonard throughout the summer, as they make significant additions to their squad ahead of next season.
The Blades have, already signed Ched Evens, Nathan Thomas, Enda Stevens and George Baldock this summer.
Blades, Millwall and Southend fans… Where do you expect Leonard to be playing his football next season? Let us know your thoughts!