When Sheffield United signed Luke Freeman in the summer, many expected him to slot straight into the team in place of Mark Duffy.
Duffy, who had been integral in the club’s rise through the leagues, had left for Stoke after a fall out with Chris Wilder. Freeman, then, who was a club-record buy when he arrived, seemed the perfect replacement.
His form for QPR had been superb. He’d bided his time and eventually, got his Premier League move with the Blades.
But since moving to Bramall Lane, Freeman has struggled to impose himself. A change of system and shape, as well as the form of John Lundstram, has made it hard for Freeman to break in.
And now, with January in full swing when it comes to transfer talk, Freeman is being tipped by some for a move away. The likes of Leeds and Nottingham Forest are both thought to have registered an interest.
Hands-off is the best approach for Sheffield United
It might seem obvious to some people but offloading a player who has only just signed in the summer seems a bit of a rash move.
Yes, Freeman hasn’t quite had the impact Blades fans would have liked, but it’s not all his fault. Lundstram has been fantastic, while Fleck and Norwood are two of the first names on the teamsheet.
And in fairness to Freeman, when he has filled in for Fleck, he has done quite well. He’s never going to be Fleck, of course. They are different players, not to mention the Scot has had three years to get used to Chris Wilder’s system and methods.
But Freeman does a job. He brings something a bit different. Something that, at times, the Blades have lacked in certain games when a creative spark might have been needed.
No need to move on
Freeman has, to be fair to him, stated he is happy at the club. He sees no reason to move on and seems accepting of a squad that’s performing well. He knows he has to work hard and hope to take his chance when it comes.
Therefore, letting Freeman leave now would be bad business. Despite the lack of games, Wilder has selected him in nearly every squad.
That in itself tells you he is valued at the club.
Moving him on now, in the middle of January, when you need to fetch in a replacement, simply makes no sense for a Sheffield United team who are flying high in the Premier League.