Blades in hunt for £2m Spireites ace Doyle

Eoin Doyle is wanted by a host of clubs
Eoin Doyle is wanted by a host of clubs

Chesterfield want £2million for Sheffield United target Eoin Doyle amid a transfer stampede for the country’s top goal scorer.

At least six Championship clubs are trailing the 21-goal marksman with Cardiff City – managed by former Blades coach Russell Slade – leading the chase heading into the January transfer window which opens today.

United are merely monitoring developments for the time being, although it is understood they moved early in making contact with Chesterfield earlier this month.

Some sources claim the Blades made an offer, thought to be around £650,000, although it is not known whether this was an official bid or merely for discussion.

But Chesterfield immediately rebuffed the approach and, with Doyle maintaining his form in the interim, the valuation is soaring.

It’s understood that, amid widespread Championship interest, Rotherham United’s Steve Evans is among managers tracking developments.

But some heavweights of the second tier appear to be in pole position and Cardiff’s Slade is a huge admirer.

Doyle made a big impression on Slade with a goal against his former team Leyton Orient on the opening day of the season as Chesterfield won 2-1 in London.

Rivalling Cardiff are promotion-seeking Derby County, who are in third place following their win over Leeds on Tuesday.

Millwall and Huddersfield are also known to be keen, while Sheffield Wednesday’s Stuart Gray is keeping tabs despite admitting that he is likely to be confined to loan signings.

There was an assumption, proving false, that Chesterfield valued Doyle at £1m. In fact, the price tag is twice that figure after being reinforced by sheer weight of interest. And goals.

The 26-year-old former Hibernian striker, who regularly hit the target in SPL, is averaging nearly a goal a game with 21 in 25 appearances as Chesterfield, promoted only last season, mount a surprise challenge for the play-offs.

Paul Cook’s side are only a point outside the top six after an unbeaten Christmas in which Doyle hit a brace in the 3-2 win over fancied Peterborough.

Ironically, it is former Peterborough hotshot Britt Assombalonga who has steeled the Spireites’ resolve not to be hounded into compromising on their valuation.

Assombalonga’s strike ratio for Posh was below Doyle’s but he still commanded a £5.5m fee from Nottingham Forest last summer.

Forest, incidentally, are also watching Doyle, but a transfer embargo looks like blighting their hopes.