Sheffield United win battle for Fulham’s Stearman

Sheffield United have won the race to sign Fulham’s Richard Stearman, who was reportedly wanted by a number of rivals Championship sides.

The 29-year-old has been under contract at Fulham since 2015, but last he spent last season on loan at his former employers Wolverhampton Wanderers. His hometown club were said to be interested in signing the defender this summer, but he has instead opted for the Blades.

“Richard was our number one target throughout the summer and I’m delighted he has signed,” manager Chris Wilder said. “We’ve been on the lookout for a central defender who has played extensively in the Championship and who possesses the qualities and characteristics to fit in with our group.

“Richard will undoubtedly strengthen us, he’s a calm influence and every manager who I have spoken to about him says he has outstanding leadership qualities and will offer 100 per cent commitment. He had other opportunities to pursue, but I am delighted we have managed to tempt him to Bramall Lane.”

Stearman started his career at Leicester City, where he developed through the youth ranks to make 130 appearances for the first team. A move to Wolves followed in 2015, and he played over 200 times before signing for Fulham in 2015 via a short loan spell at Ipswich Town.

The former England Under-21 international defender becomes United’s fifth signing since clinching promotion to the second-tier after winning the League One title, following striker Ched Evans, winger Nathan Thomas, defenders Enda Stevens and George Baldock.

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