There’s no doubt about it, the signing of Sander Berge by Sheffield United sent a wave of excitement around Bramall Lane not felt for some time.
Yes, despite the success of two promotions in three years and countless brilliant performances, one thing had eluded the club – the ability to make big statements in the transfer market.
That, of course, started to change in the summer. Chris Wilder broke the club’s transfer record on a number of occasions. The likes of Callum Robinson, Lys Mousset, and then, Oli McBurnie, all arriving for hefty sums.
But while those signings were big, they were half-expected following promotion. The signing of Berge, meanwhile, caught everyone off guard. A £22m arrival out of nowhere signalling a shift in intentions for the red and white half of Sheffield.
However, things could have been so different for Berge had he made a different decision earlier in life.
According to a new report from The Times, Berge could indeed have decided to pursue a career in another sport. That sport, as some might guess given his stature, was basketball.
In the report from Gary Jacob, details are revealed from Berge’s past. Indeed, his father Asmund claims Berge was so talented he could have pursued either career.
“I think he could have made it as a basketball player, but football was his big love,” he said.
It’s little wonder, then, that the sight of the well over six-feet tall Berge gliding through midfield, is enough to catch some off guard.
Berge can use those attributes to his advantage
While the obvious thing regarding the game of basketball is Berge’s height, there are other aspects of the hardwood sport that can help Berge.
Basketball is known for its tight spaces and the need to find room in the blink of an eye. In a busy Premier League midfield, those instincts could well help the Norwegian as he seeks to adapt to life in England.
His opening two games have been impressive but not spectacular. Berge, then, might well need to harness some of those attributes from his younger days to help him get up to speed as quickly as possible.