Few Sheffield United fans would have envisaged Chris Basham becoming such an integral player for the Blades when Nigel Clough signed him on a free in 2014.
A then-25-year-old ‘Bash’ made the move to South Yorkshire after letting his contract with Blackpool finish. At the time, Clough described the signing as ‘great’, given Basham’s experience and versatility.
Fast forward seven years, and Basham, now 33, has made 329 appearances for Sheffield United and is firmly etched into the history books.
One of the ‘pistons’ of the back three made famous under Chris Wilder, Basham was a revelation as an overlapping central defender to the right of John Egan.
Under Wilder, Basham thrived. He was an ever-present in the first season back in the Premier League. He followed that up with 31 appearances last year, too. In those appearances – both at PL level and below – Basham has delivered memorable moments.
The winner at Leeds, the jinking run through half a Manchester City team, just two of a number of noteworthy contributions that epitomise Basham’s time at Sheffield United.
But now, with Chris Wilder reportedly keen on taking Basham back to the Northeast with Middlesbrough, the time might have come for the Blades to say goodbye to a legend.
With Slavisa Jokanovic now in charge at Bramall Lane, Basham has seen his game-time cut dramatically. Bash has started just six games under the Serbian, the latest of which was a miserable run-out at Blackburn.
That’s not to say Jokanovic doesn’t like or appreciate the 33-year-old. Far from it, in fact. The Blades boss has even gone on record to praise Basham, saying he is exactly what others should aspire to be like.
However, while Basham can contribute to this squad this season, if Wilder is serious about taking the defender back to the Northeast, then out of everyone in this Blades squad, Basham deserves the chance to walk away from Bramall Lane if that’s what his heart desires.
Few players in this squad bring the passion and care for Sheffield United that Chris Basham does. But like everything that’s good in life, things come to an end.
Under Wilder, Basham played the best football of his career. At 33, he could be thinking a reunion with the former Blades boss is what he needs. And in fairness, nobody could begrudge him that.
At the moment, Basham is a bit-part player for Jokanovic. When Ben Davies is fit, he will be back to being a sub behind the Liverpool loanee and John Egan.
So, if Chris Wilder is serious about taking Basham to Middlesbrough, and the thought of a move closer to home, with a manager he knows, is what appeals to Chris Basham, then the club should do all they can to ensure a smooth transfer.
‘Basham’s Arriving’ will forever live in Blades folklore. The club, then, should ensure ‘Basham’s Departing’ is treated with equal respect.