Chris Wilder makes an admission about star man Sander Berge's Sheffield United future
Chris Wilder admits that Sheffield United will struggle to keep hold of star man Sander Berge if they are relegated to the Championship.
The Norwegian international was United's record signing until the arrival of Rhian Brewster and, after acclimatising to the pace and physical demands of the Premier League, began to show why a host of Europe's top clubs were monitoring him when he was at Genk.
The midfielder is currently recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up against Manchester United earlier in the season, and could only watch from home as United suffered their latest defeat of the season against West Ham United on Monday evening.
That result leaves them 14 points adrift of safety with 14 games remaining.
And, in an interview with Norway's TV2, Wilder admitted: "I think this has always been a springboard for Sander.
"He wants to play at the highest level, he wants to play the Champions League regularly and he wants to play for a top team.
"We gave him an opportunity to show off his skills and he has taken it.
"If he plays well, he will make us a better team, but I know that day will come [when he leaves Bramall Lane].
"I know that Sander will not be here until he is 32 years old, but we enjoy working with him and hopefully he has some games left as a Sheffield United player. I understand that if he leaves and it happens, then it happens with our blessing."
Berge has made a positive impression on Wilder, teammates and fans alike. He had a terrace chant before he'd even kicked a ball for the Blades, and a photograph of his spine-tingling reception away at Crystal Palace last season adorns a wall of his Sheffield apartment.
Berge signed a four-and-a-half year contract when he arrived in Sheffield last January, and United should be in a position to command a good fee for their prized asset as and when he moves on.
In the meantime Wilder doesn't expect the midfielder to be available again until April, adding: "Losing such an influential player was really disappointing for both us and him.
"Hopefully he gets the last six to weeks of the season. He is working hard and he is in a good place at the moment."