Sheffield United: Battling For Premier League Survival
With Sheffield United returning to the Premier League after two seasons in the Championship they will want to put themselves in the best possible position to avoid a quick return to the second tier.
Squad Reinforcements: A Dire Necessity
It’s clear that they have quite a lot of work to do in terms of improving their squad. The Blades are short on proven top-flight quality but do have some players in their squad with big potential who could, and should, be able to adapt to the top division quickly.
Star defender Anel Ahmedhodzic is one. He will have to be the lynchpin in their defensive unit and carry on the impressive form he has displayed since the Blades snapped him up from Malmo FF.
Possibly more important will be the Iliman Ndiaye, who contributed 14 goals and 11 assists last season and proved himself too good for Championship defenses to deal with.
The Appeal of a French Return: A Logical Move for Ndiaye?
Ndiaye is, like a lot of United’s squad, out of contract next summer. He has recently been linked with a move to Marseille and transfer boffin Fabrizio Romano has claimed that the player has agreed to personal terms with the French club.
Ndiaye seeking a move to France wouldn’t be a huge surprise, he was born in France and lived there until the age of 14. A move to Marseille would also make sense, as he spent four years in their academy before moving to Senegal in 2014. A club the size of Marseille, offering European football, is likely very appealing to any young player but the Blades simply can’t afford to lose him.
Striker Shortage: A Concern for The Blades
A quick glance at the other attackers in United’s squad doesn’t fill you with confidence ahead of the new season. Ollie McBurnie and Rhian Brewster were both big money signing by the Blades during their last stay in the Premier League and neither have proven themselves to be top-level strikers.
In 75 Premier League games for Swansea and Sheffield United, McBurnie has scored only seven goals. That’s prolific in comparison to Brewster’s return of zero goals in 27 Premier League games. Going into a season banking on them as your primary goal threats is a recipe for relegation.
The Blades simply have to find a way to keep Ndiaye. If the Senegal international isn’t willing to commit his long-term future to the club then perhaps a middle ground can be found. A one or two-year extension with a promise that he can leave next summer for a pre-agreed price should he wish to.
The Must Retain Factor: Ndiaye’s Importance to the Blades
There is no outcome in which the sale of their most talented and most reliable attacker works out well for the Blades, and if they want to stay in the top division for more than one season they have to find a way to keep hold of him.