With the Championship season just a few weeks away from kicking off, it’s safe to say Sheffield United have a healthy dose of strikers in their ranks.
Slavisa Jokanovic has inherited a squad that is top heavy when it comes to attacking talent. It’s akin to the Neil Warnock days, when adding just one more striker was never too many for the then-Blades boss.
But with so many on the books, just who will make an impact? Who is safe? Who might be sold? And who could surprise everyone?
We’ve assessed the strikers at the club and given our take on what could happen to each one before the summer’s end.
Billy Sharp – Surprise exit?
Despite Sharp’s allegiance to the club, with a new manager onboard, you’d have to say his future is up in the air. He’s recovering from injury, is now 35, and was already on the fringes really.
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Jokanovic could decide that a complete reset is needed from much of the Wilder-era. If that happened, we’d likely be saying goodbye to Sharp.
There’s no doubting he can score goals at this level. But how long do we keep him around and rely on him for? That’s the big question facing Jokanovic this summer.
David McGoldrick – Cash in?
There’s already been talk of a bid from West Brom to bring McGoldrick to the Hawthorns. And while sources suggest this is wide of the mark, it wouldn’t be too big a surprise to see ‘Didzy’ move on.
Despite his obvious class, he’s 33 now. Further to that, he’s into the final 12 months of his contract.
While we’d love McGoldrick to stay, you can understand the board’s position if a bid comes in that sees us land a decent fee, and they sold him.
Lys Mousset – Last chance
While some cling to the hope that Mousset can turn it around and show his real worth, others are also predicting a familiar year.
Of course, a fit and firing Lys Mousset tears the Championship apart. But when will we get that Mousset? And how long for?
Sadly, it’s hard to see him seeing the summer out. If a bid does arrive, then the board will surely accept it. Like McGoldrick, he is another player who can go for nothing next summer.
Oli McBurnie – Point to prove
Out of all the strikers in this Sheffield United squad, McBurnie is the one with most to prove.
He already splits the fans anyway, so a big campaign is needed. But he knows this level of football and last time McBurnie was here, he scored more than 20 goals. That sort of return would do wonders for him and everyone watching.
It’s a fresh start for McBurnie, and one he needs to grab with both hands.
Rhian Brewster – Desperate
While McBurnie is the one with a point to prove, Brewster is the one who needs to see one hit the back of the net. And quickly.
He’s yet to score in red and white. But surely that will change at Championship level? He scored plenty for Swansea, and seems to have returned to pre-season eager to kick on.
There’s no way United sell Brewster yet. The outlay was too big to give in just yet. But he needs goals, and Jokanovic needs to get him firing.
Daniel Jebbison – Potential loan?
Jebbison looked very much the business in his end of season performances last year. He did everything you’d want from a young striker, and looks to have a huge future.
But…a loan move might benefit him as well. Talk of Sunderland has started to bubble, however, nothing has actually come to light properly yet.
Unless Jokanovic has seen something special in ‘Jebbo’ and wants him as a regular, then it won’t be a surprise to see him leave on loan.
Oliver Burke – Change of position?
Just putting it out there, but Oliver Burke is not a centre-forward. Besides his pace, he just doesn’t seem to have the attributes to play as a pair up top.
A change of position might suit Burke, though. Whether that be as a winger, a wide forward, or even on occasions as a wing-back, it might be the way for him to salvage his Blades career.
If he can contribute that way, Burke might be ok. Failing that, it’s hard to see him not being moved on in all honesty.
Antwoine Hackford – Lower league loan
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hackford loaned out to a club really low down the pyramid.
Harry Boyes has joined Solihull Moors already, and a similar move for Hackford might benefit him at this time.
The talent is there with Hackford. But he is so young, and so raw, that he needs games to really develop now. A move away will help him.
Iliman Ndiaye – Surprise package?
Ndiaye hasn’t signed a new deal yet but all the talk from the academy is that he is someone who is highly-rated.
He got a brief taste of first-team action last season before drifting out of the picture. However, he is one who many believe can have a big impact with Sheffield United this season.
Ndiaye, then, could surprise everyone. If he can produce, then the Blades have essentially got a new forward for nothing.