DANNY Wilson had promised Sheffield United were plotting a major offensive in the transfer market and yesterday he proved as good as his word as Shaun Miller, Tony McMahon and Matt Hill became the latest new arrivals at Bramall Lane.
Wilson, the United manager, sported a satisfied grin as three players he had tracked for some considerable period of time put pen to paper on two-year contracts before joining the rest of the League One club’s squad for training.
Although Miller, previously of Crewe Alexandra, and former loanee Hill are accomplished players in their own right, McMahon’s presence at Shirecliffe is particularly intriguing given his pedigree and impressive CV.
The full-back represented Middlesbrough at both Premier League and European level after progressing through the
ranks on Teesside. “I made my debut against Manchester United and suppose it doesn’t get any bigger than that,” McMahon told The Star.
“I was really fortunate to play in the UEFA Cup against teams like Lazio and Villarreal which was great experience.
“I can remember watching (Juan) Riquelme for Villarreal and nobody could get the ball off him.”
McMahon added: “Middlesbrough are going for promotion but so are United. I’ve come to the biggest club in the division.”
Miller, aged 24, fits the profile United have conceived in order to try and achieve better value for money in terms of recruitment.
He scored 39 goals in 163 league appearances for Steve Davis’ side, and yesterday’s move to South Yorkshire provides the exciting youngster with an opportunity to showcase his talents on a more prominent stage that the one he enjoyed at Gresty Road.
A graduate of Crewe’s fabled youth system at Shavington, Miller already possesses the technical expertise Wilson demands from his players.
“I like to try and make clever runs and be a nuisance in the
area,” he said. “The great thing about starting at Crewe is that I know what it takes to scrap for points and how important those last-minute wins can be.”
Together with McMahon, Hill’s arrival is designed to maintain the balance between youth and experience in what is fast becoming a fresh faced squad.
The versatile 31-year-old, who made 15 appearances for United last term, was praised by Wilson for being a positive influence behind the scenes soon after arriving from Blackpool.
Hill, who converted a penalty during May’s League One play-off final de
feat by Huddersfield Town, is known to have rejected a variety of offers to resurrect his partnership with Wilson.
“We’ll be stronger for the experience now,” Hill said. “Without doubt.”
McMahon, 26, was also a free agent after his contract at the Riverside expired.
He first rose to prominence in the North-east after captaining Middlesbrough to FA Youth Cup success in 2004 before making his Premier League debut against Manchester United later that year.
McMahon, who has represented both Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday on loan, can operate in either defence or midfield, joked: “I know I’ll have to win a few people around.”