Sheffield United have sealed the signing of previous free agent Adelene Guedioura on a one-year contract, the club confirmed.
Having previously played under manager Slavisa Jokanovic at Watford and most recently at Qatari side Al-Gharafa, he was invited to take part in a trial with the Blades a number of weeks ago, at a time when they had a clear shortage of options in central midfield after John Lundstram’s departure in the summer.
Since then, Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White have arrived on loan from Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the Algerian international has seemingly done enough to earn a permanent deal at Bramall Lane and as one of Jokanovic’s key men who led Watford to Premier League promotion in 2015, he will be hoping to repeat that in South Yorkshire.
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The 35-year-old tends to operate in a deeper role in midfield – and although he has played on the wing occasionally – he is likely to be in competition with the likes of Oliver Norwood, John Fleck, Conor Hourihane and Sander Berge in the centre for a place in the starting lineup.
Considering the quality of the likes of Hourihane and Berge, with Norwood and Fleck playing a big part in their squad in the Premier League, will he be a regular starter? Perhaps pushed out wide?
We asked three of our Football League World writers for their thoughts on whether he will regularly claim a place in the first 11.
The fact that Sheffield United have a plethora of midfield options, coupled with the fact that they have brought him in after the transfer window has shut, tells me that he has to be playing regularly to justify his arrival.
The Blades had good midfield options going into the window, and were perhaps missing an energetic, creative midfielder, and they seemed to fill that void twice with Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane coming in.
Sander Berge and Oliver Norwood can operate in the holding role with great effect, so for Guedioura to come in, Jokanovic must see the aforementioned duo operating in front of the Algerian midfielder, or one of them (or both), could see their game time diminish.
His experience and Championship know-how makes the signing understandable, but the part I cannot get my head around is the fact that Sheffield United possess so many midfielders with the experience of getting out of the division and playing at the higher level.
I would imagine we’ll see a fair deal of him this season.
He’s a good player with good experience and clearly, Slavisa Jokanovic thinks that he can bring something to the side this season.
They’ve worked together in the recent past and the manager will have seen him in training in the last few weeks before the contract was penned, so the Serbian will have a good idea of what the midfielder can bring to his side.
Of course, Sheffield United already have top options in the middle of the park – we saw some of that on Saturday – and so it’s not as if Guedioura just walks into the team, I just think he’s an extra handy player to have available that will help Jokanovic get his methods across.
He has a part to play this season, that’s for sure.
I wouldn’t say he’ll be a guaranteed starter but I can see him featuring here and there.
The Blades now have a healthy selection of central midfielders especially with Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-Whites’s arrival at Bramall Lane over the summer.
Guedioura is an experienced head who has played more than enough times at this level to know what the demands are in the second tier, so his experience will be invaluable to Jokanovic and the Blades as they aim to kick on this term.
I see this signing as more of a squad signing for when injuries potentially rack up over the winter period for the Blades, but to have someone with the Algerian’s nous and experience is no bad thing.