It’s hard to think of a Sheffield United player in the last five to ten seasons that has possessed the qualities in attack that Lys Mousset brought to the table. Quick, strong, a lethal finisher and seemingly a nightmare for defenders, it looked like Chris Wilder had pulled off a £10m masterstroke.
However, two-and-a-half years down the line, and ‘Moose’ has left Bramall Lane under a bit of a cloud. Despite emerging back into the first-team picture and scoring three times under Slavisa Jokanovic, the striker was quickly moved away from the picture by Paul Heckingbottom. The Blades boss admitting openly that Mousset needed to make changes, in order to fulfil the requirements of a professional athlete.
But despite failing to kick on and be the asset we all hoped he’d be, it would be unfair to call Mousset a ‘flop’. In fact, his signing can be considered anything but that.
For all the frustration that Lys Mousset brought before his departure this week, it’s worth noting that this is a player that played a huge role in that ninth placed finish under Wilder. Six goals, four assists, and some performances where even the very best in the league couldn’t handle him, had Blades fans excited.
Notably, he tore both Manchester clubs apart. Most will remember his role in the thrilling 3-3 with Manchester United at The Lane. But it’s easy to forget his performance away at City. United lost in the end, but Mousset was outstanding, and had a goal ruled out at 0-0 for the most marginal of VAR calls.
Further strikes away at Wolves, West Ham and Everton call gathered valuable points for United, while he notched in the memorable 3-1 win against Spurs post-lockdown. Certainly, there is an argument to say that the Blades more than had their money’s worth on a £10m investment that season.
For all Mousset’s good work that first season, a lot of it was undone. And if you believe what you see and hear, most of it was down to the Frenchman himself. A toe injury at the beginning of the 20/21 campaign effectively ruined Mousset’s time at United. For one reason or another, he was never able to fully recover, and his fitness suffered.
Indeed, that second season, he started just two games, scoring none, and coming off the bench just nine times. Off the field, too, things weren’t going well. He crashed his sports car into parked cars in January of 2021. He didn’t appear again in red and white until March.
Sources also indicate that Mousset’s attitude to training and professionalism also irked some senior members of this Blades squad. Again, another factor working against the French striker.
The End For Lys Mousset At Sheffield United
As soon as Heckingbottom sent Mousset to train alone, the writing was on the wall really. The feeling in the air was that this was a player who’d reached the end of his time at the club. Salernitana, propping up Serie A, are the club to have given Mousset his next chance.
It’s well known that Moose hasn’t completed 90 minutes in English football. Ultimately, that is on him. And he has to change something to fix that. He certainly has the talent. We’ve seen it in flashes more than once. However, the old adage of ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard’ rings true of Mousset.
His departing Instagram post was a microcosm of what some might deem as all is wrong with the modern footballer at times. A player who has achieved little in 18 months, jetting off to Italy on a private plane like a rock-star. Certainly, it seemed a fitting end for Lys Mousset at Sheffield United.
Of course, we wish him well and on the whole, don’t buy into the ‘waste of money’ comments. However, things should have gone so much better for Lys. And that is where fans have every right to be hugely frustrated.