It’s shaping up to be a huge summer for Sheffield United, with the new manager replacing Chris Wilder set to oversee a crucial period for the club.
Players will come and go as normal. No summer window would be complete without a number of incomings and outgoings. Sheffield United will be no different, with the club said to be looking at raising around £40m in player sales along the way.
Sander Berge is the most likely to leave. The big Norwegian is wanted by a number of top Premier League clubs. It is almost inevitable, then, that Berge will depart and find a new club.
Beyond that, a number of players could go. John Egan and John Fleck are two of the top talents in the team, while George Baldock has done well as a Premier League wing-back. It would be no surprise to see any of those players move on.
But beyond the ones who might bring in a lot of money, United must also look at ensuring they keep a core of players. And central to that core for next season is midfield star, Ollie Norwood.
The former Fulham and Brighton man has had his critics at times this season. But he’s done well since Paul Heckingbottom came in and for next year, will be integral for the Blades.
Ollie Norwood key for Sheffield United next season
Aside from just being an excellent central midfielder, Norwood is something of a promotion specialist. It was little surprise to see the Blades go to the next level once Chris Wilder signed Norwood. He settled in, then cemented his spot, before helping the Blades to promotion.
Similarly, last season, Norwood was integral. And while he’s had his iffy moments this term, he’s been no worse than any of this current crop.
Going into the Championship, especially if we are to continue with the embedded 3-5-2 system, then Norwood will be vital. He knows the role so well at the base of midfield. The defenders trust him, the wing-backs know when to make runs for him, and he’s an experienced head who knows the club well.
No player (per Whoscored) averages more passes (41.5) per game than Norwood. Impressively, only John Lundstram and Berge have a better pass completion percentage. That there is just a tiny demonstration of how much Norwood is used in this team.
Sander Berge was brought in to be the ‘next Ollie Norwood’. But with Berge set to leave, it looks like Norwood himself will need to be the ‘next Ollie Norwood’ for some time yet.
And for Sheffield United, that will do just nicely as they seek an immediate return to the Premier League next season.