David Brooks to Sheffield United - Where would he fit in, is he affordable and will it happen?

With just a few days until the deadline for Sheffield United to do business with clubs in the EFL, rumours about a possible return for David Brooks from Bournemouth show no signs of going away.

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 12:15 pm
Sheffield United's David Brooks, now of AFC Bournemouth, beats the Sheffield Wednesday defence: Steve Ellis

The Welsh international joined Bournemouth a couple of years ago in a lucrative deal, when the Cherries were in the Premier League.

But the two sides have now swapped places following Bournemouth's relegation last season, and Brooks has only started one game in the Championship this season.

Where's the speculation come from?

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In some ways it's a natural link to make - Brooks knows United and United know Brooks. He plays for a relegated club, who have at times in the past been fairly easy pickings for clubs who retained their Premier League status, and United need to score more goals, having found the back of the net only once in the league so far this season.

Chris Wilder also fanned the flames a little a few weeks back, when he brought up Brooks' name out of the blue and admitted he would like to sign him.

Whether it was another bit of clever management to drop his name in, or an honest assessment, or a bit of both, it ramped up speculation about the Welsh international returning to Bramall Lane ahead of the deadline.

But Danny, where would he fit in?

It's true that United have largely done away with their No.10 focal point in their 3-5-2 formation, preferring to play with a flat three in midfield since they came into the Premier League. Brooks would be perfect for that No.10 role, but also had a lot of success at United as a second striker - playing just off a No.9, if you like, and looking to create.

That would be something he could continue at United, linking up with, say, new signing Rhian Brewster or Oli McBurnie up top.

United have also, on occasion, played a diamond in midfield after switching to a back four during games, so he would be a perfect focal point at the tip of that.

What are the stumbling blocks?

David Brooks, in action during his days at Sheffield United. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Money. Bournemouth are thought to be demanding £50m for one of their prized assets and are also under far less pressure to sell after a bit of an exodus throughout the summer - Aaron Ramsdale returned to United, Newcastle paid them £20m for Callum Wilson and they sold Nathan Ake to Manchester City for a remarkable £41m.

Coupled with the parachute payments they receive after relegation, their financial picture is a lot rosier than most clubs.

United's included a substantial sell-on clause in the deal that took Brooks to Bournemouth. Although it still wouldn't make him affordable this window, it would lower his price if he was to return in the future.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

On a permanent deal, as things stand, a slim one at best - unless Bournemouth lower their valuation drastically, or Wilder pulls another rabbit out of the hat. But the same was said about the Sander Berge deal, before he signed for a club-record fee in January. Brooks also pulled out of the Wales squad to face Bulgaria this week with injury, but it's a case of 'never say never' with this deal for the future.