NATHAN THOMAS has left Hartlepool United after completing a move worth an initial £200,000 to Sheffield United.

As revealed in The Northern Echo online on Friday night, the 22-year-old opted for the Blades rather than hometown club Middlesbrough. There was also interest from Leeds.

Now Thomas could line up against Boro in the Championship next season and it is believed he felt he had better first team chances at Bramall Lane.

Thomas has signed a three-year deal with Sheffield United after passing his medical on Saturday, having changed his mind on a switch to the Riverside late on.

Hartlepool, desperate for a cash boost after relegation from the Football League for the first time in the club’s history, agreed to let him join Sheffield United for £200,000 and the fee could rise depending on add-ons.

It is understood Middlesbrough were prepared to pay more initially.

Thomas impressed at Hartlepool last season when Craig Hignett was in charge but suffered injury in October and he never recaptured his best form. He scored nine times in 34 appearances.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder said: "Nathan is someone we have tracked for a long time and is a talented young player. He was Hartlepool's outstanding player last season and we believe, in our environment, he has the ability to push on to the next level, like a few that we brought in last season did.

"There were a number of clubs interested in Nathan's signature and we are delighted that he has chosen to further his career with us.”

Thomas appeared for both Sunderland and Newcastle United as a youngster and has gone on to play professionally for Darlington, Plymouth Argyle, Motherwell and Mansfield Town. He joined Hartlepool in January last year.

Thomas, speaking to the Sheffield United website, said: "I'm aware that Chris Wilder has tried to sign me before and I enjoyed speaking to him. I didn't want this dragging on through the summer, I knew what I wanted to do and now I can concentrate on getting my head down at the start of pre-season."