Blade runner: Sheffield United set to get Pools star on the cheap

Pools star Nathan Thomas. Picture by Frank Reid
Pools star Nathan Thomas. Picture by Frank Reid

Hartlepool United look set to lose Nathan Thomas AND lose out on a bumper payday for the talented attacker.

The opening of the summer transfer window is still almost 50 days away but, according to a report from Sky Sports, the departure of Thomas to Sheffield United is imminent.

Or certainly an agreement. It was reported that the 22-year-old is to have a medical at Bramall Lane today after the Blades and Pools agreed a fee in the region of £300,000.

If that is true then the cash windfall for the relegated club falls considerably short of the figure being bandied about in the later months of last year.

There was even talk of the exciting left-footer becoming Pools’ first million pound player.

At one stage this season it seemed inevitable Thomas would depart in the January transfer window after starting the campaign as he had finished the last.

The numbers being speculated did not seem out of this world for a player who could beat an opponent as though he was not there AND score goals.

Then Pools boss Ronnie Moore had snapped up the former Sunderland winger from Mansfield Town in the early hours of the January 2016 transfer window.

It was an inspired bit of business though the Teessider’s best form came under manager Craig Hignett.

Thomas was in brilliant form at the start of this campaign, beating Yeovil almost single-handedly and scoring a stunner in the 3-0 victory at Grimsby.

However, it all went awry when he suffered a groin injury at Barnet on the final Saturday of October and subsequent surgery ruled him out for almost three months, ending any chance of him leaving in the New Year.

Thomas scored two goals on his return to the side but, not fully fit, he could not recreate the magic he displayed earlier in the campaign.

He was also not inspired by the managerial regime of Dave Jones so Pools, sadly, did not see the best of him.

When Jones was sacked, Thomas said he was a player re-born only for a knee problem to rule him out of the thrilling yet fruitless win over Doncaster.

But, despite the sad end to the season and the club’s relegation to the National League, interest in Thomas was always going to be keen.

Promoted Sheffield United were first out of the blocks with boss Chris Wilder a known admirer.

Another Championship outfit, Leeds United, and soon-to-be second tier Middlesbrough quickly joined the race and the presence of Boro, Nathan’s hometown team and the club he supported as a boy, appeared set to hold sway.

But Sky Sports report that Thomas favours Sheffield United because of greater first-team prospects.

As yet there is no official word eminating from any of the various parties involved but one thing for sure is that Pools will not get the sort of money they would have once hoped for.