ROTHERHAM UNITED are refusing to give up on transfer target Curtis Tilt even though their pursuit of the coveted centre-half is out of their hands.
New Blackpool boss Simon Grayson has offered the defender an improved contract in an attempt to keep him at Bloomfield Road and the Millers are powerless to act if the player signs on the dotted line.
But Rotherham manager Paul Warne is ready to move quickly if talks break down and the Seasiders decide to cash in on their 27-year-old prized asset who was attracting bids close to £1 million from Ipswich Town last season.
Earlier this summer, the Millers matched Blackpool’s asking price and agreed personal terms with Tilt only for their League One rivals to change their minds on a sale.
“I would still love to bring Curtis to the club,” said Warne, who watched his side draw 2-2 with Werder Bremen II on Wednesday during their week-long training camp in Germany.
“In fairness, I have to respect the fact that he’s Blackpool’s player. If they contact us and say he is available, then great. If he signs a new contract with them and keeps playing his football up there, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.
“I do like him. He ticks all the boxes for me as a central defender. If there is an opportunity for us to sign Curtis, for him to come in and improve us, then obviously I’ll take it.
“At this moment, it looks like he will be playing his football at Blackpool next season.”
Tilt, who has one year left on his existing deal, was also wanted by Portsmouth.
Meanwhile, Warne is confident of holding on to key man Semi Ajayi for next season’s assault on promotion from the third tier.
There have been offers for the centre-half, who also excelled as a midfielder in last term’s Championship campaign, but nothing has come close to testing Rotherham’s resolve.
“Loads of clubs like him but we want to keep him,” said Warne. “It’s not as if we’ve put out a circular saying he's available.
“If I lose him, it’s like losing two or three players because he can play in more than one position. That’s the last thing I want to happen.”
Ajayi moved to AESSEAL New York Stadium on a free transfer from Cardiff City in 2017 and has a year left on his contract.
Semi Ajayi, fourth left, in pre-season action
“I do appreciate that people will be interested in him,” Warne added. “So they should be. He’s ‘ledge’. He scored eight goals in the Championship. I get it. But at this moment in time I can't see anything happening.
“I did enjoy reading all the false stuff on Twitter that my son sent me about Semi being at the Leeds United training ground for a medical. It just shows the power of social media.
“He’s looking great in pre-season in midfield. He’s not knocking on my door to say he’s desperate to get out. I’m not aware of anything.”
The Millers round off their stay in Germany tomorrow with a match against FC Magdeburg before returning for friendlies at Farsley Celtic and Bradford Park Avenue next Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
This article first appeared in the Advertiser