When a team makes the drop from the Premier League to the Championship, there’s always the expectation a few players will be moving on in the summer due to their quality, and Sander Berge is one of those men after Sheffield United’s relegation.
Although the Norwegian’s deal doesn’t expire until 2024, after signing for a club-record £22m fee in January 2020, there are already rumours surrounding his future at Bramall Lane with Arsenal being one of multiple Premier League sides recently linked with the 23-year-old.
According to VG, Berge now has a £35m release clause in his contract after the Blades’ relegation to the Championship, £10m less than his Premier League buyout proposal.
However, the Norwegian outlet also state he could be sold for less if top flight clubs are reluctant to pay the £35m needed to bypass Sheffield United and directly negotiate with the player.
With this interest from top flight clubs, there’s little to no chance the midfielder will be hanging around to help the Blades regain promotion to the Premier League. Ismaila Sarr remaining at Watford last season shows it’s not impossible – but it’s unlikely.
However, his sale could open up a window of opportunity for new manager Slavisa Jokanovic who will want to add fresh faces, especially those that fit into the playing style he adopts.
21 things every Sheffield United fan should know about their club, so can you score 100% on this?
Even if they just recouped the £22m they paid for him at the start of 2020, it would not only raise the funds needed to allow the Serbian to shape his squad and make room for other signings, but would also take pressure off the South Yorkshire side’s wage bill.
With clubs’ wage bills contributing to their financial fair play failures just as much as transfer fees, it’s vital they sort out this transfer saga quickly.
Berge was very highly-rated even before his arrival in England and would have been offered a sizeable salary to take Sheffield United to the next level.
The potential sale of Berge is also linked to mentality.
If the Norwegian is fully committed to the club, Jokanovic will have no problems.
But if his head has been turned, and you wouldn’t blame him with Premier League clubs circling around him, a deal must be negotiated quickly if a fair price can be reached.
Sheffield United will only want players who want to be at the club ahead of this crucial season.
At such an important time in their history after relegation, the Blades can’t afford to have room for passengers.
Uncertainty will only disrupt the Serbian’s preparations.
If players aren’t fully committed and don’t want to join Jokanovic’s journey back to the top flight, it’s time for them to leave.
Berge may still have a place in South Yorkshire – but he needs to remain committed to the cause.