Sheffield United have made some good and bad signings over the years both in terms of money spent and free transfers.
Recent seasons have seen United venture into the market a bit more in terms of spending big. The likes of Sander Berge, Oli McBurnie, and Rhian Brewster, all being brought in for fees we wouldn’t have imagined a few short years ago.
The rise from League One has been superb under Chris Wilder. And within that rise, Wilder has plucked some of the best bargains we’ve ever seen.
So, over the years, just who are the best free transfers we’ve ever had? Spoiler alert, a few might just be in this current squad!
United’s current top scorer this season has been one of the best findings on a free we have ever had.
Invited into the club on a trial basis after leaving Ipswich Town, McGoldrick has shone in red and white and was imperative to the cause as we won promotion to the Premier League.
A lack of goals last season undermined a brilliant season but most Blades fans accept the team looks better when McGoldrick is in there.
Harking back to the days of Neil Warnock and winning promotion to the Premier League again, Shipperly proved a surprising and successful free-transfer.
‘Shipps’, despite his size and lack of natural fitness, simply knew how to score goals and was the ideal foil for the likes of Danny Webber and Steve Kabba.
11 goals that season ensured he would go down in Blades folklore, despite struggling to make any sort of impact in the Premier League.
There was no way this list was being comprised without mentioning Mr Sheffield United himself, Chris Basham.
A regular for United in all divisions under Wilder and now one of the key cogs in the Blades’ starting XI, Basham’s success has been one of the stories of the Wilder.
Brought in as a versatile midfield player, Basham’s transformation into overlapping centre-back and cult-hero has been outstanding to witness.
Few midfield players have had the impact Fleck has had at the club. Goals and assists flowed in League One and he scored the crucial goal at Northampton to seal the deal.
He continued to flourish in the Championship and earned hero status for his stunning early free kick against Wednesday.
Since then, he’s gone from strength to strength. United’s best player for large periods of last season, it’s little wonder we are struggling without the Scot in the middle at the moment.
One of the biggest success stories but also one of the saddest stories of the Wilder era, Duffy’s role cannot be underestimated.
A vital cog in helping the 3-5-2 system work in the Championship , Duffy’s ability to retain the ball, pick the right pass, and drop into space was crucial for allowing United’s wing-backs to bomb on.
A fallout with Wilder after promotion to the PL shouldn’t undermine how important Duffy was for United. It’s just a shame that, in a time when we’re crying out for someone with creative flair, Duffy is down in League One with Fleetwood Town.
Still, a remarkable story and a worth addition on this list.
Oh, and did we forget his memorable moment at Hillsborough? Enough said.