A lot of talk around the club at the moment is of who we might bring in to replace Jack O’Connell, who has suffered a near season-ending injury.
Blades boss Chris Wilder has made no secret of his desire to bring in a new face to cover the left-side centre-back position. This, despite Jack Robinson stepping in as an able deputy in the opening games of the campaign.
Of course, the United boss knows his squad best. He knows the areas that need addressing while he also sees, day in and day out, the impact of having someone who excels in that position brings to the team.
A number of names have been mentioned. Diego Rico, Terence Kongolo, and Ben Davies, the three players who keep cropping up in media reports throughout the week.
But as I sit and think about our start and what we might be missing, part of me is questioning (probably stupidly) this clamour to use our final squad place and loan on another defender.
One thing we have definitely lacked this season – and last if we are honest – is a creative force from the midfield area.
These players are talked about a lot. Players who can unlock the door. Provide a bit of magic. See a pass that others can’t…you get the drift!
But in all honesty, we DO miss that player. Throw all the cliches at it you want but the fact remains that, especially with John Fleck not fit and firing, we look desperately short of flair in the midfield area.
For all the work of John Lundstram and Ben Osborn, they are workhorse by trade. Nothing wrong with that. But when Oli Norwood isn’t in the team and Sander Berge is sitting deeper, our forwards are left isolated.
So, do we really need to bring in another defender, when we actually already have options down that side?
Stevens can step in
Most Blades fans and Stevens himself would probably concede the Irishman hasn’t hit the levels of 2019 this year.
Not that he’s been particularly bad, but he’d been so brilliant that we’ve now noticed a drop in his exceptional performance levels at wing-back.
But on the other hand, Stevens can also step into that left centre-back role. He’s played it before, knows the system, and it might even offer him a bit of respite from that bombarding wide role.
We also signed Max Lowe in the summer, while Ben Osborn showed he can cover Stevens at wing-back last season.
Any new player is going to take time to get up to speed in that O’Connell role anyway. Jack Robinson does well there but he doesn’t get forward as well as O’Connell as we all know. But who’s to say that any new player is going to grasp that aspect before our first-choice man is more or less back?
In my opinion, we’d be better utitlising our loan option further up the pitch rather than more or less wasting it on an area of the field where we are still doing pretty well in. We have, afterall, only conceded six goals so far.