Sheffield United are set to submit an increased bid for Southend United’s Ryan Leonard, according to the Sheffield Star.

The 25-year-old started his professional career at Plymouth Argyle, but was released as a youngster in 2011 after just one appearance for the Pilgrims. The midfielder then joined Southend on a free transfer, and his performances at Roots Hall quickly made Plymouth regret their decision.

Leonard has been a vital player for the Shrimpers during his six seasons with the Essex club, igniting a great deal of interest from a number of Football League outfits. Sheffield United are well-known admirers of the midfielder and have been chasing his signature this summer. Leonard made a huge 48 appearances last term and won the club’s Player of the Year award for the third time.

Despite Southend handing their captain a contract extension in May, Millwall as well as the Blades have both placed bids for Leonard although neither were successful. It is now reported that Chris Wilder’s side will make an improved bid for the midfielder in hope to boost their strength in depth at the newly-promoted Championship outfit.

The South Yorkshire club have enjoyed a very active summer transfer window, with five signings arriving at Bramall Lane already. Arrivals such as George Baldock and Nathan Thomas fit a similar mould as Leonard, who all spent time learning their trade in non-league.

Sheffield United take on La Liga giants CF Malaga on Friday in a warm-weather clash in Marbella. Striker Ched Evans is expected to make his pre-season debut.

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