Lawrence Shankland: Dundee Utd hope striker will stay but 'depends on bid'

Lawrence Shankland scored his 27th goal of the season against Hibernian
Lawrence Shankland scored his 27th goal of the season against Hibernian

Dundee United are "hopeful" of keeping hold of striker Lawrence Shankland this month, but "it depends what the bid is", says head coach Robbie Neilson.

English Championship club Stoke City are reportedly preparing a £3m offer for the 24-year-old Scotland striker.

Shankland scored his 27th goal of the season in the Scottish Cup fourth-round replay defeat by Hibernian on Tuesday.

"Lawrence is a key player and we've still got a lot of work to do in the league," Neilson told BBC Scotland.

"But after today's performance and the goal that he scored, there's going to be more interest."

The Tannadice club are 18 points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship as they look to return to the top flight for the first time since 2016.

But despite having that comfortable cushion, Neilson says the club are determined to keep hold of Shankland at least until the summer, having signed him on a three-year deal in July 2019.

Asked what level of offer might tempt them to sell, he added: "It depends what the bid is. If someone comes in with a million pounds it's going to get papped out the door.

"It's a question for the owner [Mark Ogren]. He makes the decision about what gets done. I advise. [Sporting director] Tony Asghar advises as well.

"I'd keep Lawrence to the end of his contract, but it doesn't make financial sense for the club. The price of keeping Lawrence is high because we've got to get back in the [top] league."

Lawrence Shankland

United put in a spirited performance in the 4-2 defeat by Hibs at Easter Road, having held the Premiership outfit to a 2-2 draw at Tannadice to earn a Scottish Cup replay.

Neilson was pleased with parts of his side's display, but also said his squad is a work in progress when asked if he felt his side would hold its own in the top division next season.

"I think we're quite far away, I do to be honest," he said. "I would expect next season we have to improve and come to places like this and win.

"If we're going to try to get where we want to get to, there's areas of the pitch we know we have to improve in.

"[But] there were periods of the game where we created chances and looked like a Premiership team."

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