Sheffield United make Matt Ritchie 'offer' amid Portsmouth and Watford links following 35-year-old's Newcastle exit

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Sheffield United have tabled an offer to Matt Ritchie in an attempt to lure him to Bramall Lane next season.

That’s according to the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope, who claims the Blades have made contact with the former Pompey and Newcastle free agent as they attempt to steal a march on potential rivals for the 34-year-old’s signature.

The national journalist adds the Blues remain interested in the left-sided midfielder who started his career at Fratton Park

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Speculation has consistently linked Ritchie with a south coast return since it emerged the Gosport-born ace would be leaving St James’ Park after eight years with the Toon. Sources close to the PO4 club initially played down those rumours. However, The News understands Ritchie is a player head coach John Mousinho and sporting director Rich Hughes have been considering as they prepare for life in the Championship during the transfer window.

Watford have also been credited with an interest in the player who cost Newcastle £12m from AFC Bournemouth in 2016.

The Blades have said goodbye to a host of experienced players since their relegation to the Championship from the Premier League. Chris Basham, John Egan, Ollie Norwood and George Baldock have all left the club, along with Ben Osborn. Meanwhile, uncertainty over the future of Oli McBurnie continues. It’s believed Ritchie’s experience and athleticism - despite his 35th birthday being just two months away - appeals to manager Chris Wilder.

Peterborough United left-back Harrison Burrows - who has also been linked with Pompey this summer - is one of many players United are reportedly keen to recruit as they looks to freshen up their ranks ahead of another season in the Championship.

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However, their ongoing ownership takeover issues - which have paused any significant transfer activity at Bramall Lane this summer - currently restricts the Blades’ recruitment capabilities.

Free-agent Jamie Shackleton remains their only signing to date following his Leeds departure.

Ritchie has previously spoken of his wish to finish his career at Pompey.

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