Chris Wilder says he didn’t want to sell Dominic Calvert-Lewin to Everton.
A product of the Sheffield United academy, Calvert-Lewin was sold in the summer of 2016 shortly after Wilder became manager.
The 53-year-old already knew all about the striker, having signed him on loan for Northampton Town the previous season.
Calvert-Lewin scored eight goals in 26 appearances for Northampton as they won the League Two title under Wilder.
He returned to Bramall Lane for the second half of the 2015/16 campaign, but soon the Toffees came calling.
Calvert-Lewin left for Merseyside having failed to score a single goal for United in 12 appearances.
But Wilder didn’t want it to happen.
“I personally would not have done it and I have talked about that,” the Blades boss told Yorkshire Live.
“But we had to because that was the financial situation the club was in four years ago and we had to raise our own funds to mount a challenge to get out of League One.”
Everton got a great deal for Calvert-Lewin
The money United made on Calvert-Lewin allowed Wilder to build a promotion-winning team.
After six years in League One, they won the title in 2016/17 with 100 points.
A second promotion from the Championship followed two years later. They are now partway through their second successive campaign in the Premier League.
This might not have been possible without the sale of Calvert-Lewin – who wasn’t an established first team player when he joined Everton.
It was a similar story with fellow youth graduate, Aaron Ramsdale, who Bournemouth signed for around £1m (BBC Sport) in January 2017. United have since re-signed the goalkeeper for £18.5m.
The cash raised allowed them to bring in players who would become – and in some cases, still are – key to their success. This included Leon Clarke, Mark Duffy, John Fleck and Jack O’Connell.
But the Toffees still did incredibly well out of the deal. Their Under-23s manager and former Blade, David Unsworth, recently said the £1.5m fee previously quoted for Calvert-Lewin was wide of the mark.
Unsworth added it was “a lot less” and Yorkshire Live now says United actually received just short of £1m.
Not bad considering The Sun claimed in September that Manchester United were told they’d have to pay £80m to sign Calvert-Lewin.
This was before the 23-year-old had netted 13 goals in 11 games in all competitions in 2020/21. As well as scoring twice in three appearances since making his England debut in October.