Sheffield United are negotiating a transfer fee with Genk for Sander Berge, which Sky Sports reports is around £17m.
The Blades have reopened talks with the Belgian club after trying to sign Berge in the summer. Yet the 21-year-old rejected a move to Bramall Lane, apparently because he had no intention of joining a side newly promoted to the Premier League.
Instead, Berge was preparing for a season in the Champions League – where Genk were drawn in a group alongside Liverpool. His display at Anfield impressed Jurgen Klopp so much he personally praised the Norway international after the game.
“He’s a good player. A very good player. He’s certainly interesting,” Klopp told Norwegian publication VG.
This lead to speculation that the Reds, along with fellow European heavyweights Chelsea and Napoli, were interested in Berge.
Much has changed since then, though, and the midfield ace is now believed to be impressed by the performances of Chris Wilder’s side this term.
Burnley and West Ham United now represent the biggest competition for his signature, but it is the Blades who are closing in on a deal.
Berge will enter the final year of his current contract this summer, so Genk need to cash-in soon.
Why landing Berge will show how far Sheffield United have come
Critics may argue why Wilder would want to sign a player who rejected his team only six months ago. Yet let’s be fair to Berge, who is an ambitious youngster looking to progress in his career.
In August, the prospect of joining a club preparing for their first top flight campaign in 12 years would seem a risky move. Just look at how fellow newly promoted sides Aston Villa and Norwich City have struggled in 2019/20.
Instead, it should be seen as a compliment that Berge now views the Blades as a team going places. They are, after all, currently eighth in the table after 24 games.
And in Wilder they have one of the most exciting managers in the country. The 52-year-old has created an environment that is now seen as attractive to one of Europe’s brightest young talents.