There’s a strange sense of inevitability when it comes to Sheffield United and Sander Berge, in that you get the feeling we might not ever see the very best of the Norwegian.
There was an air of excitement around Bramall Lane when Chris Wilder paid around £22m to bring in Berge in January of 2020. Nobody will forget the scenes at Crystal Palace, while there was a genuine excitement that the Blades had landed a talented midfield player who could go on to be world-class.
However, things haven’t quite panned out as expected. Berge struggled to find his best form early on for the Blades. Then, after finally looking the business against the likes of Spurs and Chelsea post-lockdown, he suffered a nightmare injury which essentially ruled him out of last season completely.
Berge recovered in the summer. But managed just five games this term before being forced to sit out with Covid. He then returned for one game, before damaging his hamstring against Preston and hasn’t been seen since.
And with Slavisa Jokanovic admitting that Berge is no closer to a return to the first-team yet, it begs the question of if United fans will ever see the best of Berge, or in fact, see him again.
Missing the Boat
It was a near constant update in the summer window. Different teams sniffing around Sander Berge. Differing reports claimed clubs in Italy wanted him, while Arsenal are known admirers. Spurs, too, were said to have bid £17m for the 23-year-old.
Of course, that bid will have been flatly rejected. Indeed, some reports claimed United were looking at closer to the £35m release-clause to even consider selling Sander.
But months down the line, and if United did indeed reject any big bids for Berge, then did the club make a mistake? Certainly, on form and fitness, we might just have.
In the six games Berge’s been involved in, United didn’t win once. Some deem him slow in the midfield, and not suited to this squad. Of course, his talent is there for all to see, but there is some truth in those opinions.
Ultimately, with a dismal injury record, no obvious place in this Slavisa Jokanovic XI, and going into the final two years of his contract next summer, maybe the Blades should have cashed in.
We’d all love to be proven wrong. A firing Sander Berge will, surely, influence this team. But as things stand, it looks like United have missed the chance to bring some funds into the club.