Sheffield United look set to stick to a three at the back formation next season under Paul Heckingbottom, having had such an impressive second half to the season when deploying one.
The Blades only have four centre backs with contracts beyond the end of this season, and one of those is Jack O’Connell who has been injured for the entirety of the last two seasons.
Charlie Goode, Ben Davies and Filip Uremovic have left the club, the former two returning to their parent clubs, and they will need replacing to at least replenish the club’s second string heading into 2022/23.
Here, we have taken a look at three defensive upgrades the Blades should consider this summer…
Harwood-Bellis has looked the part in Championship loan spells with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City in the last two seasons, the 20-year-old has two years remaining on his contract at Manchester City and should be playing regularly for a club pushing for promotion to the Premier League next season.
Harwood-Bellis is a gifted ball playing defender, and that could strike the wrong note with Heckingbottom with Ben Davies’ playing time reduced significantly following Slavisa Jokanovic’s departure, but competition for places is important and the England U21 international is good enough to establish himself alongside John Egan next term.
Haydon Roberts could be on the move this summer having spent the majority of the 2021/22 season playing for the Brighton and Hove Albion U23 side.
The 20-year-old was involved in the first team in cup competitions, but further EFL experience will be preferable, entering the final year of his contract.
A second tier move would be a positive for his development, if the Seagulls do not need him to bolster their depth chart next season, also deploying a back three formation.
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Hector is the most rough and ready in this list, and for that reason he could slot into the first team quicker than possibly the other two.
The 29-year-old was a key player in Fulham’s promotion via the play-offs in 2019/20, has hardly played since, but should have his choice of second tier clubs this summer.
Hector could be a longer term successor to Blades stalwarts like Chris Basham, as he enters the peak years of his career.
The Jamaica international is available on a free after reaching the expiration of his deal at Craven Cottage.