This is going to be a very important month in the future of Stoke City midfielder Sam Clucas with it being possible that he could depart the club with Sheffield United one of the sides interested.
It has been reported by The Sun journalist Alan Nixon that Clucas is going to be made available by the Potters on a potential free transfer as they aim to cut down their wage bill this summer. That comes despite the £6 million signing still having another year left to run on his current deal.
The caveat is that any team wanting to sign him would have to do so before the end of June. Sheffield United are thought to be one of the teams that are keen to make a move for Clucas.
While there is also interest from the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Millwall as well.
With the Blades amongst the sides potentially keen on a move for Clucas this summer, we assess whether it is a good move for the midfielder and for Sheffield United…
Is it a good move?
The Blades are looking to strengthen in the middle of the park with John Lundstram set to leave the club at the end of his current deal. While there is also continued speculation over the future of Sander Berge who is interesting Arsenal and has a £35 million release clause.
Sheffield United have been linked with a move for Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney. However, the latest report from the Sheffield Star has suggested that it will be unlikely that the Blades will pay the sort of fee that would be demanded from Scott Parker’s side for him.
As a potential alternative to Cairney, it would make sense if Sheffield United brought in Clucas this summer on a free transfer. The 30-year-old has a lot quality in possession and he can both create and score goals from the middle of the park, or even out wide when he is at his best.
The midfielder managed to register 11 league goals and three assists in 44 appearances in the Championship for Stoke in 2019/20 and that shows what he can do if he remains injury-free and gets regular starts.
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Would he start?
This is a tough one, as of yet we do not know exactly how Slavisa Jokanovic will set up his Sheffield United side in the Championship next term. The Serbian is a manager that usually operates with more of a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation than the 3-5-2 that has been go-to for the Blades in recent years.
You could see Clucas assuming the role that Lundstram had within the Blades’ setup if they were to stick with that 3-5-2 under Jokanovic next term in the Championship. He has the ability to arrive late in the box and add a goal threat and also fill in in the wide positions to cover for a wing-back.
However, if Jokanovic adopts a 4-3-3, or a 4-2-3-1 formation, then Clucas would be suited to either one of the three midfield spots or also potentially even one of the wider positions.
The 30-year-old is clearly a player that is used to being first choice wherever he has been in the past, and he would likely be expecting the same at Bramall Lane.
Clucas would certainly have the quality to be starting for them if he does sign, but it would also depend on other business that they might conduct between now and the window closing.
What does he offer?
The 30-year-old obviously offers plenty of Championship experience to the squad and he has also played a key role in a side that has earned promotion from the second tier, doing so with Hull City in 2015/16.
Clucas also brings to the table the ability to provide tactical flexibility given he has the ability to play either in the middle of the park, or in a wider role. That would enable him to provide cover in various positions in the event of any injury issues
The midfielder also has a goal in him and he has the ability to arrive late in the box and finish of chances that come his way. That 11-goal season in 2019/20 shoes he has the potential to add a lot of goals to a side. While he can also create chances going forwards as well.
Perhaps the most important thing he would offer this summer in a very difficult transfer market is potential value for money. Getting someone of his experience and quality on a free would be very good business for them.