Arsenal and Everton are the leading contenders in the transfer race to sign Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge, according to a report.
The Blades raised eyebrows in January 2020 by bringing in the Norway international from Genk. Indeed, he arrived in South Yorkshire having gained Champions League experience with his previous employers. He even played against Liverpool and supposedly impressed Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
However, then-United manager Chris Wilder won the race for the 23-year-old and he impressed.
After signing at the end of January, he played in every Premier League match until the end of the season. Nevertheless, this campaign has proved a challenge for the Blades in more ways than one.
While they remain a top-flight team for now, their relegation back to the Championship has already been confirmed. Berge’s nasty hamstring injury has added to the club’s woes, the midfielder missing over four months.
As such, thoughts have now turned to the makeup of the squad next term which can help the club bounce straight back. But Sky Sports News claims that while United want to keep most of their squad ‘intact’, Berge is one player who could leave.
Indeed, as well as Everton and Arsenal, a ‘host of teams’ across Europe have showed interest in the Norwegian. What’s more, the clubs involved are all considering bids.
However, interest in Berge’s services could reportedly spiral; United’s relegation means that his release clause has dropped from £45million to £35million.
Arsenal and Everton may be the leading contenders, but the Gunners have one big advantage over the Toffees.
Assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg worked with Berge when he was at Genk and therefore knows the player well.
The coach said of Berge: “He is already very mature. He is intelligent, reads the game well, and takes the initiative. He has the potential to become a future leader.”
Berge looking for transfer away
Sky Sports News adds that Berge – who is an all-action midfielder who can play in both a holding and box-to-box role – currently feels ‘happy’ at Bramall Lane.
However, he is aware that his future lies away from the Blades if he is to reach his full potential, such as playing in the Champions League again.
Many believe that despite his comfort playing across the midfield, he may end up in central defence.
Arsenal face a crucial summer under boss Mikel Arteta after crashing out of the Europa League to Villarreal on Thursday.