Sheffield United are facing up to a busy and uncertain summer when it comes to the transfer market, especially in terms of outgoings.
While the club has insisted that nobody will be sold on the cheap, relegation means it is inevitable that some players will leave. The likes of Sander Berge, John Egan, and John Fleck are likely to be the main men in the spotlight.
Indeed, interest is already hotting up in Berge. Liverpool and Arsenal are both said to be keen on the Norwegian.
Keeping every single player is simply not going to happen. Even Norwich, for all their efforts and the ‘model’ everyone lauds, lost a few of their key players. Both Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey were sold to the highest bidder last summer, with Everton and Newcastle winning out.
But while Berge may move, and the likes of Egan and Fleck might attract attention, it is Oli McBurnie who could prove to be United’s most important ‘keep’ of the summer.
McBurnie to be key if United want Championship success
Being straight down the line, McBurnie has hardly been exceptional since his arrival from Swansea. He scored more than 20 goals for the Swans the year United signed him, but he knocked just six in last term, while he’s got just the one this term.
McBurnie often divides the fanbase. Of course, he’s a bit of a character off the field and likes some outlandish attire, to say the least.
But McBurnie was always bought as a player we could develop and rely upon should we eventually end up back in the Championship. Nobody really expected the exceptional season we had last term, so it’s now vital we hold onto the big striker.
He knows the Championship well, for a start. His goals with Barnsley and Swansea are proof in the pudding that he can do it at a lower level.
Further, a likely partnership with Rhian Brewster could be crucial for the Blades as they look to bounce back immediately.
Finally, his contribution at the defensive end shouldn’t be underestimated. The Championship is a rough, robust, and often scrappy league. You need players who can contribute at both ends and with his height and presence, McBurnie will be needed.
McBurnie isn’t ever going to be our most graceful player. But he wants to be here. He puts the work in, never shys away, and at Championship level, should prove an ace in the hand for whoever is United’s new boss.