Arsenal and Tottenham are being encouraged to enter a bidding war for Sheffield United and Norway midfielder Sander Berge
Arsenal could attempt to exploit the uncertainty surrounding Sheffield United’s plans for next season by submitting a formal offer for Sander Berge, after it emerged the Norway international’s situation at Bramall Lane is being monitored by a number of Premier League clubs.
With United preparing for relegation back to the Championship, and having parted company with Chris Wilder last week, agents acting on Mikel Arteta’s behalf are understood to be investigating the possibility of signing Berge when the transfer window reopens this summer.
A number of other teams in London have also begun compiling dossiers on the 23-year-old, including Tottenham Hotspur, after anticipating he will be among several high-profile names likely to leave South Yorkshire at the end of the campaign.
The Star understands that, after being made aware of Arteta’s interest, someone with knowledge of the deal they might table then began actively encouraging Jose Mourinho’s employers to enter the race.
At least one other side from the capital, where United face Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday, are also believed to be considering testing their resolve to keep midfielder
Despite hearing Berge admit towards the end of last term that he had ambitions of playing Champions League football once again after representing Genk in the competition before moving to England, retaining his services was one of the key demands Wilder made to his board of directors before it was decided the manager’s position had become untenable.
Disagreements about recruitment policy, coupled with their diverging views about how United should rebuild when their fate is confirmed, were at the heart of the row between the former Northanpton Ton and Oxford United chief - meaning his relationship with some members of owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s inner circle had become increasingly strained in recent months.
Berge, who missed United’s 5-0 defeat at Leicester City last weekend with a hamstring complaint, has made 30 appearances since being signed for a then club record fee of £22m 14 months ago.
Paul Heckingbottom, who has been placed in caretaker charge until May, might be able to call upon Berge’s services until the closing stages of the campaign amid suggestions he recently suffered a minor set-back in his battle to regain fitness. However, Berge has been named in his country’s squad for their matches against Gibraltar, Turkey and Montenegro.
Berge, who started his career with Asker Fotball before moving to Belgium via Valerenga, has not featured since limping-out of December’s meeting with Manchester United at Bramall Lane.
United’s defeat in the east Midlands saw them finish the latest round of fixtures 14 points adrift of safety with only nine matches remaining.
Despite seeing the measures imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and then United’s downturn in form when football resumed in June hamper his progress, Berge had started to show signs of the ability which one saw Napoli cast admiring glances in his direction before succumbing to injury.
Combined with his pedigree in European competition, Berge is unlikely to be short of suitors when he eventually returns to action later this term.