The arrival of Sander Berge (£5.0m) at Sheffield United has led to further fears for John Lundstram (£5.1m) owners.
Chris Wilder threw the Norwegian defensive midfielder straight into the Blades’ first-team in Gameweek 25 in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Berge played 68 minutes before being replaced by Lundstram, who has already lost his place to Muhamed Bešić (£4.4m) in Gameweek 24.
With competition for midfield places heating up at Bramall Lane, we’ve researched what Berge will bring to the Premier League.
And while this article acts as a Scout Report on the Blades’ latest recruit, we will also be using it to work out the effect his arrival will have on Lundstram.
The History and Statistics
Berge arrives at Sheffield United as something of a major coup for the newly-promoted club.
The Norwegian midfielder was linked with many of the Premier League’s top clubs during the January transfer window, including Manchester United, while Liverpool and Napoli, who faced him in this season’s Champions League group stages, were also rumoured to be interested in his services.
Not surprisingly, Wilder had to smash the club’s transfer record to bring Berge to Bramall Lane.
Still only 21 years of age, the midfielder has risen to the top end of European football very quickly.
Berge graduated from local side Asker’s academy in 2013 and made his senior debut in the third tier of Norwegian football aged just 15.
Eliteserien outfit Vålerenga signed him for the 2015 campaign, where he made 36 first-team appearances before earning a big move to Belgian club Genk in 2017 – still just 18-years-old.
Despite his tender age, Berge soon a reputation for controlling the midfield with his discipline, ability to read the game and his physical attributes.
His primary role at Genk was to drop deep to win the ball and distribute it quickly to the more creative players around him, helping his team-mates construct effective counter-attacks.
During three years in Belgium, Berge featured heavily, making 73 league appearances, helping Genk to the domestic title and Super Cup in 2018/19 as well as competing in three separate European competitions.
After two Europa League campaigns, Berge and his Genk team-mates took part in this season’s Champions League, alongside Liverpool, Napoli and Red Bull Salzburg.
Furthermore, Berge has also competed at every age group for the Norwegian international team, right from Under-15s to the senior side, who he debuted for in 2017 and now has 20 caps and one goal.
Securing a player with experience of the very top level in European football, as well as winning titles, especially at such a young age, can only improve a club like Sheffield United, who were competing in League One as recently as 2017.
Furthermore, it should push the Blades onto new heights, as they continue to press home on their chances of qualifying for European football for the first time in their history this season.
“Sander is someone we have known about for quite a while now. We have tracked him over a sustained period of time, he was a player we highlighted as someone who could come in and really improve us and we are thrilled he’s agreed to come here. When we sat down with Sander it was clear that he was really excited about coming here and that was great to see. I think this signing just shows how far we have come in a short space of time, that we are now attracting the likes of Sander to the football club. It’s a brilliant signing for us.” – Chris Wilder
“To win and go fifth in my first game is fantastic. But we cannot stop there. We must push forward. The song is all about playing in Europe next season. That is the ambition.” – Sander Berge
While his mental and physical attributes, as well his ability to dictate play from deep, may improve Sheffield United moving forward, as a defensive midfielder, Berge has never been particularly renowned for goals, netting just six times in three years at Genk. Before that, the youngster never once scored a senior league goal in Norwegian football.
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