Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay has admitted England Under-21 star George Hirst could be lured into a summer move to Manchester United.
Teenager Hirst, the son of former Owls fans’ favourite David, is out of contract at the end of the season and United are reported to be favourites for his signature.
The 19-year-old has not been selected for first-team football this season after refusing to sign a new deal and some Owls fans are angry the club have not tried harder to keep him.
“It’s a decision George will have to make himself,” Luhukay told BBC Radio Sheffield. “I think it’s really difficult when a club as big as Manchester United has an interest in him to say no.
“George must decide how he sees his future and I respect that. It is a decision for George. A good decision or not a good decision, I cannot answer that.”
Owls chairman Dejphon Chansiri has insisted the club have done all they can to keep Hirst and last month urged him to quickly make up his mind on his future.
The club has turned down several offers for Hirst, who helped England Under-20s win the Toulon Cup in France last summer, while Leicester and Everton have been linked with the player.
Hirst, who progressed through the Owls’ academy, rejected a new long-term deal at the end of last year, which the club have claimed would have made him the best-paid player for his age in their history.
“This is the situation between George and the club of course,” Luhukay added. “It’s a very difficult situation and we must look in the future at what we can do.
“We’ll do the best for Wednesday and the team, but we try also to help the young players to start a good career here.
“We’re speaking now too long about George. I think he’s a fantastic player, but where is his future? I cannot say.
“Is it the Championship with us? Is it the Premier League? Then you must look at how his career is going.
“It’s difficult to say. He is only a young player, so you never know how it will go in the future, but I hope for him that it is a good way.”