Sky Bet Championship promotion chasers Sheffield United have finally completed the signing of Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard on a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The transfer was confirmed by the South Yorkshire club earlier this afternoon and the deal ends The Blades’ long-running pursuit of the player.

It had previously been reported that Sheffield United initially tried to sign Leonard from Southend United in the summer however The Shrimpers successfully managed to fend off the interest from the 2016/2017 Sky Bet League One champions.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was always expected to return for the player in this month’s transfer window and the 50-year-old will be pleased to have finally got his man.

Leonard started his career at Plymouth Argyle however the player made just one first team appearance for The Pilgrims and was released by the club in summer 2011. The midfielder signed for Southend United that summer and Leonard has proved to be one of the Essex club’s best finds in recent seasons with the player having been crowned the Player of the Season at Roots Hall on three occasions.

After making 265 appearances for Southend United in which he scored 27 goals, Leonard brings much experience with him to Bramall Lane. The player could make his debut for The Blades in the Steel City derby against bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday on home soil on Friday evening.

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I am Dan Pentland and I am a York City season ticket holder and volunteer for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK. In May 2015, I completed my childhood dream of visiting all 92 Football League grounds. Follow me on Twitter @DanPentlandpcuk and Facebook

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