Sheffield United paid a then-club record £22 million in January 2020 to bring Sander Berge to Bramall Lane, and for the first few months of his time in Yorkshire he looked like a very accomplished midfielder.
Fast forward just over a year though and Berge is now a Championship player, having missed half of the 2020/21 campaign due to injury and in that time the Blades faltered, ultimately leading to their relegation.
With the amount of money he cost the club and being a Norwegian international, Berge was always going to attract interest this summer and Arsenal have emerged as a club who potentially want to sign the 23-year-old.
United will be demanding at least £35 million for their prized asset despite being a Championship club now – a figure which Arsenal may not be willing to pay due to their lack of European football in 2021/22.
Is it a good potential move?
There’s no doubting that Berge would strengthen Arsenal’s midfield heavily as it’s probably the weakest part of their whole squad.
Mikel Arteta ended up going with a double pivot of Mohamed El Neny and Granit Xhaka for much of the season, with Dani Ceballos also featuring in there as well although he failed to pull up any trees.
So there’s room for a different type of player there and none of them have the size and athleticism of Berge, and he’s also a player who can carry the ball forward and also get stuck into the tackle as well.
Quiz: Who has done more of these 15 things out of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United?
Would he start?
If Arsenal pay £35 million for Berge you’d imagine he will walk straight into Mikel Arteta’s starting 11.
A midfield two of El Neny and Xhaka isn’t a duo that is going to get the Gunners into the European spots next season so they need someone younger and fresher in there.
It could be Berge playing alongside Xhaka but Joe Willock could have thrown his name into the starting mix after a successful loan spell at Newcastle United.
What does he offer?
As mentioned previously, Berge combines a mix of good tackling abilities with the attacking awareness to carry the ball upfield, and even though he’s incredibly tall and powerful he’s not slow when he’s dribbling up the pitch.
If he’s going to partner with Xhaka in midfield then the Switzerland international can be the sitting midfielder whilst Berge can make things happen further up the pitch – he’s not proven himself to be a goalscorer so far in his career but in a team with attacking threats like Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and others, he could find the back of the net more often.