Arsenal to turn heat on Sheffield United in the battle for Sander Berge as Aaron Ramsdale comes under transfer spotlight
The transfer saga involving Sheffield United, Arsenal and Sander Berge has taken a fresh twist after it was claimed the Londoners are also exploring the possibility of luring goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale as well as the Norway international to the Emirates Stadium.
If Mikel Arteta does decide to pursue an interest in Ramsdale, who was drafted into England’s European Championships squad earlier this week following Dean Henderson’s withdrawal through injury, it raises the possibility that his employers will attempt to package the two proposed deals together - a tactic commonly used to drive down the fees paid for those involved.
United have been aware of Arsenal’s flirtation with Berge for six months, with officials at Bramall Lane actively encouraging them to make a bid when it became clear United were set to be relegated from the Premier League.
However Arteta’s employers have been frustrated by their refusal to lower the £35m valuation they have placed on a player who cost only £22m a year-and-a-half ago. Although United are thought to be willing to concede ground on the structure of the proposed deal - having previously insisted the overwhelming majority of the money is handed over up front rather than being dependent upon Berge triggering various performance related clauses - they have so far refused to budge over his asking price.
Despite reports United would be willing to accept £20m for Ramsdale - a figure which would see them make only £1.5m profit on a player they re-signed from AFC Bournemouth last summer - senior figures there reckon he is now worth £40m after being summoned to St George’s Park by Gareth Southgate.
After spending the early part of his career being farmed-out on loan, Ramsdale has privately reassured United he has no intention of asking for a move, preferring instead to try and help them regain their top-flight status.
With the 23-year-old unwilling to agitate for a transfer elsewhere in order to further his international ambitions, Arsenal’s hand will be weakened if they try and lure United to the negotiating table.
Arteta, who has also been linked with Leicester City’s James Maddison, wants to strengthen his squad following Martin Odergaard’s return to Real Madrid and suggestions Bernd Leno wants to return to Germany.