Belgian side Genk wanted to keep Sheffield United new boy Sander Berge 'at all costs'
Belgian side Genk have revealed they wanted to keep Sander Berge 'at all costs' before allowing the Norwegian midfielder to complete his £22m move to Sheffield United.
Berge put pen to paper on a four-and-half-year deal with United on Thursday - but the Jupiler Pro League side's sporting director Dimitri De Condé says his club believed they could keep the 21-year-old star until the summer.
"We wanted to keep Sander at all costs until the summer. It seemed we would succeed. But before Gent game (on January 26), the case gained momentum. In terms of timing, it couldn’t be worse,” said De Condé, speaking to Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg.
“That Saturday we were very dismissive of his departure. But on Monday we sat down with him, his father and his management.
“[We had] a very respectful conversation and the conclusion was: it is better that we say goodbye now."
Berge was initially linked with United last summer but media reports in Belgium suggested the player vetoed any potential move with the Blades tipped to be facing a relegation battle.
But after making his debut for the high-flying Blades in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Norwegian youngster opened up on the reasons why he decided to join Chris Wilder’s revolution at Bramall Lane.
"I had followed the team closely for a long period,” said Berge, who believes United’s ambition is to play in Europe next season.
“I had seen how Sheffield United had developed over these months. I watched how they play and thought this would suit me.
“With Chris the manager and the way he spoke to me about my role, that helped my decision. It is a very humble, down-to-earth club and all of those things suit me.
“They pushed so much to get me and that gives me a very good feeling.
“The dressing room is the best I have ever been in.
“This club is developing. There is big ambition."
Berge was one of five players to sign for United in January, with Jack Rodwell, Jack Robinson, Richairo Zivkovic and Panos Retsos also joining the club.