January will likely be a pivotal moment for Sheffield United and the way in which their season will pan out under Slavisa Jokanovic.
Without even contemplating the thought of Morgan Gibbs-White potentially heading back to Wolves, the winter window could prove essential in helping Jokanovic and his Blades side achieve their goals. That goal, we all know, is promotion.
Of course, big money signings are unlikely to happen. The January market is often hard to operate in anyway. That, plus the fact United made their strategy known with summer loan signings, suggests we won’t see Prince Abdullah open his wallet too much in after Christmas.
However, there is one long-term target that United could push the boat out for. And that man is Reading midfielder, John Swift.
The recruitment team at Bramall Lane remains largely unchanged from the days of Chris Wilder. That’s why certain names may keep cropping up, and in our eyes, Swift is in that category. The Blades were linked as recently as this summer with the Royals star. At the time, reports suggested Reading wanted close to £7m for Swift.
However, nearly 18 months down the line from United’s initial interest, Swift, 26, has still not signed fresh terms at The Madejski Stadium. Surely, then, a January swoop by the Blades makes sense?
After coming back from a bad injury last term, the former Chelsea man has been flying this season. Seven goals and five assists in just 11 starts have helped the Royals into 10th, just two points shy of the top six.
It’s no secret whatsoever that some of this Sheffield United squad are reaching the end of their shelf-life at the club. A big number of players are out of contract in the summer, so it’s only right we have eyes on fresh blood.
Secondly, United don’t half struggle for goals from midfield. Sure, Gibbs-White and Ndiaye, as well as Ben Osborn, have helped with that recently in their more advanced roles. But both John Fleck and Ollie Norwood are hardly known for their goal scoring prowess. The additions of Conor Hourihane and Adlene Guedioura, too, hardly scream goals.
And with little to no chance of landing Gibbs-White permanently, John Swift could prove an essential signing. As yet, there is no sign of a new deal being agreed with Reading. The Royals might, of course, feel they’ll benefit more from keeping their talisman until the end of the season.
But if United do have a bit of money set aside, then testing the water in January to try and land Swift would be a smart way of using those funds.
Swift has been wanted for some time now. It’s easy to see why, too. So, if there’s a potential deal to be done, the Blades should be going all out.