Sheffield United are one of a number of Championship teams interested in Stoke City midfielder Sam Clucas this summer, according to Alan Nixon of The Sun.
The 30-year-old is still contracted to the Potters but they’re looking to get his wages off the books despite him being a regular for the last few seasons.
The Blades meanwhile have a new manager in Slavisa Jokanovic and the Serb looks to be in the market for a new midfielder with an eye for goal, with Tom Cairney also linked to Bramall Lane.
Clucas may be a cheaper alternative though – let’s look at two pros and two cons if United win the race for him.
PRO: An eye for goal
He may not have shown it this past season, but Clucas does know where the back of the net is.
Clucas had the best league scoring season of his career in 2019-20, bagging 11 times for Stoke and in the process becoming their top scorer.
Because of injuries Clucas was restricted to just 24 league appearances last season but they only yielded two goals, but that wouldn’t be a real worry if it’s an attacking presence that Jokanovic wants.
If Clucas was brought in to play in the number 10 role then you could realistically expect him to get into double figures again but he’d need good supply from the wings and full-back areas.
The wages that Clucas is on – SalarySport believe it to be £33,000 a week – are the reason as to why Stoke are keen to get rid of him and bring through more youth and cheaper players.
Of course he could stay at Stoke for the rest of his contract, which expires next summer, and any club who wants him is likely going to have to pay the wage he’s on now to bring him in – unless Stoke subsidise part of it.
£33,000 per week for a 30-year-old midfielder in the Championship doesn’t exactly scream smart business but if they could negotiate that figure down a little bit then Clucas would be a little bit more value for money.
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PRO: Has Premier League experience
The Blades want to be back in the top flight as soon as possible, so bringing in players in the Championship who have experience of playing in the Premier League can’t be a bad thing.
Clucas probably isn’t quite good enough now to be a consistent player at that level, but his 11 goals in the second tier in 2019-20 prove that he’s still a top-end player in the Championship and he could be that again next season if he stays fit and is played in a more advanced role in midfield.
Jokanovic could give him that and Clucas will be itching to prove that Stoke are wrong to seek a new club for him – and we are talking about a player who changed hands just four years ago for £16.5 million.
CON: The wrong side of 30
Having turned 30 last year, Clucas probably isn’t the age of a player that you want to be investing a lot of money in.
It’s a bit of an issue for a lot of the Blades’ midfield options – Ollie Norwood is the same age and John Fleck will be 30 as well in a few months so it does feel as though they need a younger option in there.
Sander Berge is obviously part of the squad to bring that youthful balance but whether he sticks around at Bramall Lane remains to be seen – Clucas has a bit to prove as well after his lack of goals this past season and he would only add to the increasing age of the squad should he sign.