Sheffield United beat Reading 4-0 at the weekend with a squad assembled for a minimal cost.

The result moved the Blades into second in the Championship table as their promotion push continues.

Yet while transfer fees in England’s second tier continue to soar, United have been extremely careful with their financial outlay.

In fact, the 18-man squad that beat the Royals so emphatically was assembled for just £8.6m.

Breakdown of Blades squad cost

Five of the players who were named by Chris Wilder at the weekend are on loan at Bramall Lane. Dean Henderson, Marvin Johnson, Gary Madine and Scott Hogan all started, while Kieran Dowell came off the bench.

There are fees that come with these deals, but in terms of transfer costs they are free.

Speaking of free, five of those that started were signed by United for absolutely nothing. Martin Cranie, Enda Stevens, Kieron Freeman, John Fleck and Mark Duffy were all free transfers when they joined the Blades.

David McGoldrick, who was on the bench, was also free when he signed from Ipswich Town over the summer.

As for those that cost the South Yorkshire club money, John Egan is their record transfer. Egan arrived from Brentford last summer in a deal The Yorkshire Post reported cost £4.1m.

(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Oliver Norwood cost United £2m according to Sky Sports after making his initial loan move from Brighton and Hove Albion permanent in January.

On the bench on Saturday, top scorer Billy Sharp (Sky Sports), John Lundstram (Oxford Mail) and Simon Moore (Birmingham Mail) were all signed for £500,000 apiece.

Richard Stearman, who was also among the substitutes, was acquired for around £1m – as reports The League Paper.

The only anomaly is Paul Coutts, who was signed from Derby County in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee. No digging seems to reveal exactly how much this was.

Despite this, the £8.6m paid for the other players is remarkably low. To put it into context, it is significantly less than the £12m (BBC) Aston Villa agreed to pay Brentford for Hogan in January 2017.

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