Record new signing Callum Robinson is a bit behind in training terms after only having just joined the Sheffield United squad but the young Irishman is showing a great deal of promise after his move to Bramall Lane. The 24-year-old was allowed to leave the Championship side Preston North End’s training camp in Ireland to complete the move.
Republic of Ireland forward Robinson was Preston’s top scorer last season with 13 goals, despite being sidelined for nearly 4 months with a nasty hamstring injury, so imagine the possibilities if the player had been able to play the whole season. This club record, a yet undisclosed transfer fee (rumoured to be about £8million) looks like it could be a great deal for the Blades if the young Irishman hits the ground running. Robinson’s acquisition strengthens a key area for the Blades and should bring more goals and options for the club which they will definitely need in the Premier League.
Wilder is also strongly linked to break his club’s transfer record again in short order to secure the signing of Bournemouth forward Lys Mousset for the Blades as we reported earlier in the week with Bournemouth ready to accept United’s £9.5million bid for the Frenchman.
Wilder has also added experienced man Luke Freeman from QPR for a reported £5million fee. The attacking midfielder who can also play wide is still only 27 years old and has penned a deal keeping him at Bramall Lane until 2023. With Freeman, they are adding a quality midfielder who can play that killer pass and is described by former boss Ian Holloway as having a “wand of a left-foot”.
In a move which might turn out to be a master-stroke, Chris Wilder has brought back a player in Phil Jagielka who was capped 40 times by England and has played 322 games for Everton in the Premier League after moving to Goodison Park for a bargain price of £4million in 2007 from the Blades. Jagielka made 254 appearances across 7 seasons including leading the Blades to promotion to the Premier League as well as being a member of the side which was pretty much illegally relegated to the Championship despite the shenanigans and back-room deals that allowed West Ham and the Carlos Tevez affair to keep the Hammers in the Premier League in the 2006-7 season.
Watch Wilder’s comments on the club’s current transfer business so far and what could be in the pipeline below:
Jagielka just rejoined Sheffield United on a free transfer from Everton and, despite having lost a step at the age of 36 years old, the England international has looked after himself and should provide both experience and a solid spine to Wilder’s side. If he helps United stay in the Premier League it would be a great story.
The enigma in all of this transfer talk is Ravel Morrison who everyone agrees is undeniably immensely talent but, at this stage, the player has burnt so many bridges and ruined so many opportunities in his career with disappointing spells with Manchester United, West Ham, Birmingham City, QPR, Lazio, Cardiff City, Ostersund and Atlas. Both Wilder and the Sheffield United will be hoping the still only 26-year-old Morrison has finally matured enough to be a responsible professional footballer as the sky is still the limit for the midfielder if only he can manage his temperament, and channel his talent in the right way.
The same has been said of Morrison by just about every club he played for – they knew he was dripping with raw talent and instinct for the game that is a very rare thing and the 26-year-old should be one of the elite players of his generation right now but he has not come close to what was expected of him and he has had off-field matters which naturally effected his play and vice-versa. The young Morrison needed some solid support and mentoring when he was coming through and sadly he did not get that and was suddenly making serious money yet not understanding that the money is good as long as your last season is good. But there is nothing that is missed in the top leagues – if you make a mistake there are 5 different camera angles of it and if you are not on top of your game you will be exposed very quickly at the highest level.
It is only a matter of time before coaches will be pulling you aside on your mistakes as you lose confidence, and then next you will be in and out of the team combined with the effects of some nagging injuries and some late nights but you have to play on which usually leads to being demoted to training with the second team or possibly loaned out. If Morrison can play under Wilder and it seems like the United boss is one of the better coaches around these days who has paid his dues and understands some of the challenges players face when they do not make it where they want to be first time around. Billy Sharp is a classic example in the Wilder mould as Sharp was not a success in his first 2 spells at his lifelong club but when he finally returned to Sheffield United in 2015 he took the 3rd opportunity with both hands and has scored an incredible 87 goals in only 154 games putting to bed his first stint of 2 games with no goals and his 2nd stint of 8 goals in 51 games. We will see, but clearly, the Blades feel Morrison is worth a gamble as if he catches fire he could be a big player for the Blades.
Can the Blades get the deal for Ravel Morrison completed? Morrison comes with a well-documented chequered history with plenty of brushes with the authorities but his talent on the football field has never been in doubt and Chris Wilder will be hoping to sell Morrison on his vision for Sheffield United and get the U21 England international to sign a deal.
At least United are not going crazy doing a “Fulham” like the cottagers did last year – throwing huge amounts of cash at big-name players hoping they come together as a team. Wilder is too canny for that and he is building a team based on the success of last season and adding credible solid players and not getting carried away with questionable purchases of temperamental or simply over-priced expensive players with the exception of the possible signing of the enigmatic Morrison. The thing is about Morrison is he does possess that rare quality in a footballer – he has the “x-factor” which can win games and deliver big things but if Ravel Morrison is not feeling good and is not grounded then he cannot produce the type of magic on a football field that had scouts from all the top clubs salivating over him. We can only hope Chris Wilder can provide a platform on which Morrison feels comfortable and can display his talents in the Premier League should the deal be agreed.
In their most recent game the Blades ended up with a disappointing 2-1 away loss to Burton Albion in Tuesday night’s friendly where brilliant Billy Sharp was the man to grab United’s goal with a fine headed goal midway through the 1st half to put them 1-0 up before they ultimately lost 2-1.