It’s been a long time coming, but Sheffield United finally completed their first signing of the summer yesterday, landing Liverpool’s Ben Davies.
Davies joins on a season-long loan and will go into the squad that travels to West Brom tomorrow. His arrival signals the end of a long-standing pursuit from the Blades, stretching back to the Chris Wilder days.
Most United fans are delighted with the signing. But just what exactly are we getting? And how will Davies fit in with the Blades?
Well, we spoke to Olly Dawes from respected Preston North End website, Deepdale Digest, to get the lowdown on what Davies can offer.
When pressed on how Davies came to be a Preston regular, Dawes admitted it didn’t all go to plan from the very beginning.
“Davies is an ideal left-sided centre back. He started out as a left back at Preston and fans still look back on the day Jamal Campbell-Ryce ripped him apart in that role way back in 2014. Ironically, for Sheffield United,” he said.
“He had to reinvent himself as a left-sided centre back to eventually become a key man at Preston three years later. His development under Alex Neil was rapid.”
Blades manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, is keen to play good football. That starts with his defenders being able to pass forwards and break lines. And Dawes believes Davies is ideal for that aspect of the game.
“He’s quick, reads the game well and can pass through the lines brilliantly, starting attacks from the back with ease. It didn’t work for him at Liverpool. But from what we saw at Preston, he’s a top-end Championship defender at the very least,” Dawes adds.
“If he’s playing in a back four, you’d ideally like to have a big, powerful centre back with him to compliment him. At Preston, we used Patrick Bauer in that role. And the duo formed a great partnership.”
With United fans eager to see the team kick on this week with games against West Brom and Huddersfield Town, it will be interesting to see what formation Jokanovic now goes with.
The accustomed three at the back could now be back on the table. And Dawes believes Davies is ideal for that role.
“If it’s in a back three, Davies is perfect on the left side. He’s not the biggest centre back ever. But he makes up for that in so many other areas and should be an outstanding capture for Sheffield United, even if only for a year.”