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Opinion: Why Sheffield United need to take transfer decision on promising defender in January

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Although Sheffield United failed to add sufficient depth in a couple of key areas during the previous transfer window, they are well-stocked in others.

The full-back position is one of those, with Rhys Norrington-Davies and Enda Stevens fighting for a starting spot on the left and George Baldock and Jayden Bogle competing on the right.

Arguably, all four are good enough to start for the Blades every week in the Championship, but this is impossible and the South Yorkshire side have even shed one of their full-backs in Max Lowe in recent months, who has joined second-tier rivals Nottingham Forest on loan and thrived down the left-hand side at the City Ground.

Blades teammate Norrington-Davies also did well at Luton Town and Stoke City on temporary spells away from Bramall Lane last term, making 38 Championship appearances in total and richly benefitting from his experience at Kenilworth Road and the bet365 Stadium.

And at this stage of fellow full-back Bogle’s career, with the England youth international turning 21 in July, you almost feel he needs a temporary spell away from South Yorkshire to be able to fulfil his potential.

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He may have been expecting to have a limited amount of time on the pitch in the Premier League due to his lack of top-flight experience and his age – but back in the Championship where he was a regular for former side Derby County – there are no excuses for him not to be playing.

While he may have been tied down to a four-year deal on his arrival at Bramall Lane last year, signifying their view of him long-term addition to the cause, there’s only so long he can spend on the bench without it adversely impacting his playing career.

Just to give you an idea of his lack of first-team chances, he’s failed to make the bench in any of his Slavisa Jokanovic’s side’s last three fixtures, potentially foreshadowing what could become a bleak career at Bramall Lane for the young full-back.

George Baldock’s hamstring against AFC Bournemouth before the international break may give him the opportunity to assert himself as Jokanovic’s first choice at right-back for the time being, but this is a short-termist view of the situation.

The Serbian seems to prefer 28-year-old Baldock as a start at this moment in time, so only an exceptional run of performances may keep Bogle in the starting lineup, and it’s not even guaranteed that opportunity will come with the former set to be assessed over the international break.

This is why the Blades need to make a decision on the 21-year-old in January if Baldock gets back to full fitness quickly: do they retain him in the event of injuries and potentially risk stalling his career if opportunities don’t come along?

Or would it be wise to let him go out on loan to a team that will play him every week and either utilise Chris Basham on the right or bring in a short-term option to compete with Baldock?

Recruiting a short-term right-back option may be difficult with the lack of football that might be on offer, therefore making his move to a potential signing less attractive.

You could also argue it would be less hassle to retain Bogle and one less task to address in bringing in a replacement full-back during January, considering their desperate need to also address the wing position in the winter window, with a centre-back possibly needed in the long-term absence of Jack O’Connell.

But for their long-term future, providing Bogle with a loan spell during the second half of the season with the view of starting for the Blades next season, depending on his progress, makes sense.

Because of this, it would be worth the hassle of adding another position to address on their transfer list. He’s ready to go and play football, now is the time to unleash him, whether it’s at Sheffield United or elsewhere temporarily.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Why Sheffield United need to take transfer decision on promising defender in January

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