Blackburn's Gavin Gunning offered Dundee Utd contract

Gavin Gunning
Gunning was on loan to Motherwell last season

Dundee United hope to sign Blackburn defender Gavin Gunning after offering the 20-year-old a three-year contract.

Gunning trained with the Scottish Premier League club on Thursday and aim to complete his transfer to Tannadice this week.

The Irishman was on loan to Motherwell last season and featured in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic.

A deal over Gunning had originally been part of talks over the £2.8m transfer of David Goodwillie to Rovers.

But United chairman Stephen Thompson told BBC Scotland: "It is a separate deal, although we were under discussions with the people there over the last couple of days."

Thompson said that most of the transfer fee for Scotland striker Goodwillie would go to reducing the club's debt.

However, he was hopeful that money would be found to help manager Peter Houston, who had also been interested in Blackburn's Scotland defender, Grant Hanley, strengthen his squad.

"Peter and I have had our discussions," said Thompson.

"It is his job to push me and it is my job to look after the club and you find, hopefully, a sensible conclusion to that."

Motherwell had been keen for Gunning to return to Fir Park, while Aberdeen had also expressed an interest in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 cap.

Before heading for Tannadice, he had been on trial with Scunthorpe United and the League One club's manager, Alan Knill, claimed that the defender did not wish to return to Scottish football.

Knill remains hopeful that Gunning might still join Iron but admits that his own club's chances have diminished.

"He went to Dundee United for talks on Wednesday, because they want to bring him to their club as part of David Goodwillie's transfer to Blackburn," the manager told his club website.

"As well, being part of the deal, I'm sure sure Blackburn would want him to go to Dundee United.

"We believe they're going to offer him a decent deal, but we'll have to see what he wants to do - whether he wants to come and play for us or whether he wants to go and play his football in Scotland.

"We're hopeful he's going to say no and then we might be able to do something."

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