There is one statistic that suggests that the promotion achieved by Sheffield United is more impressive than that of Aston Villa and Norwich City.

Villa became the third and final team going up into the Premier League next season when they beat Derby County in the playoff final.

Norwich won the title, finishing five points ahead of the Blades in second. However, despite not ending up in first place United may still have had the most successful campaign.

That is certainly the case when it comes to spending. Over the past three years, Sky Sports reports that the Villans have spent a whopping £99.6m on transfers.

This financial clout was boosted by the parachute payments they received after being relegated from the top flight in 2016.

During the same time period, the Canaries spent £40.7m. It’s significantly less than Villa, but much more than the Blades.

In fact, since Chris Wilder became manager in the summer of 2016 the South Yorkshire club have spent just £8.6m on new players.

Five of the six teams that finished in the promotion places and playoffs have been in the EFL for at least the last three years. Fourth-placed West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, were relegated from the Premier League in 2018.

The other two – Leeds United and Derby – also spent much more than the Blades. Leeds’ spending is £46.2m, while the Rams’ is £43.9m.

Who United have bought?

(Photo by Molly Darlington – AMA/Getty Images)

Almost half of that £8.6m was paid for one player last summer – John Egan. The Yorkshire Post reports that Egan cost a club record £4.1m.

According to Sky Sports a further £2m was spent on making the loan of Oliver Norwood permanent in January.

The Blades were busier the previous year, signing nine players for fees – albeit fairly minimal ones. Wilder’s first summer as manager mainly saw free transfers acquired.

Many of United’s key figures from 2018/19 – including Enda Stevens, John Fleck, Mark Duffy and David McGoldrick – were free agents.

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