Alan Biggs at Large: Blades well stocked in striker department ahead of vital season
Ask almost any fan '“ or manager - what type of player is at the top of his or her summer signing summer signing wish list and you'll get the same answer.
If the answer is not “a striker” then you are in a minority of... well, let’s say a very few.
Nearly everyone is just that one player short of a good team and it’s nearly always that elusive bloke who puts it in the onion bag.
Sheffield United? Now they look to be not one player but several players short of a good team, or one capable of climbing from League One at what will
be the sixth attempt. And yet not one of the players they need is necessarily a striker.
That is exceptionally rare and, for all the upheaval involved in reshaping an under performing squad, it’s a heck of a good start.
Consider, too, that signing a proven marksman is usually the most expensive commodity. The Blades already have two. Even better, there are signs of a potent partnership between them.
Billy Sharp and Che Adams should be a ready-made pairing for next season. Nigel Adkins clearly agrees and it would be surprising if he felt the need to make a marquee signing in that area. A little competition perhaps but, with Marc McNulty coming back from a prolonged and promising spell with Portsmouth, United seem to have a major part of the jigsaw firmly in place.
A collective 33 goals this season (with Sharp admitting his 21 should have been more) represents strong evidence, especially if Adams continues to shape up (and in more ways than one with two former players I know independently remarking to me that he needs to lose a bit of timber).
So where do United need to strengthen? And here Adkins’ team does appear to fit the stereotype because, behind a striker at the top of everyone’s wish list, comes not a player but a highly prized ingredient – pace. You can never have too much of that and the Blades don’t have anywhere near enough.
Bear in mind that, if Adkins perseveres with the solid-looking 3-5-2 framework of the recent revival, he needs wing backs (or others) who can offer more surge than is currently available.
Okay, Matty Done is no slouch out wide, as he’s shown, but he’s no winger either.
The fan jury has returned its verdict on Dean Hammond (in the Michael Doyle anchor-man role that was left void for too long) although you have to recognise the mutual trust between manager and player. Meanwhile, Jay McEveley, among those out of contract, has been a criticised part of a back line that has relied on loans and badly needs underpinning.
But I think that overall, given that several promising youngsters are pushing hard, United are in a decent position to rebuild – without having to do it from the front.