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By ESPN Staff

Gillespie hands in shock Blades transfer request

Sheffield United remain hopeful of keeping Keith Gillespie at Bramall Lane despite the winger handing in a transfer request.

Gillespie asked to leave following Saturday's 3-1 loss at Reading where he was sent off for elbowing Stephen Hunt 12 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

It is understood the 31-year-old has become increasingly unhappy at the deals he has been offered in recent weeks as he is out of contract in the summer.

But Blades chairman Terry Robinson has not give up hope of getting the former Northern Ireland international to sign again.

'As far as we are concerned, contract negotiations are still ongoing,' said Robinson.

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock, meanwhile, can expect the first influx of up-and-coming Brazilians at Bramall Lane this summer.

The Blades and South American giants Sao Paulo should confirm a partnership agreement next month that will give Warnock first option on a number of players.

'Over 80% of the Brazilian players who have come to Europe have played for Sao Paulo,' United director Simon McCabe told the Sheffield Star.

'Some have already been identified that we can have a look at with a view to bringing them here during the next transfer window in the summer.

'Some of them are younger, while others may well be closer to the first team, but we'll have to wait and see.

'What we are looking at is an affiliation whereby both Sheffield United and Sao Paulo can benefit.'