Chris Wilder and Sheffield United continue to defy modern-day football logic
Sheffield United are more than enjoying life back in the Premier League after a 12 year absence – but their exploits have been even more remarkable considering the market value of their first team squad.
The Blades began the campaign as relegation favourites but as the season passes the halfway mark they are better placed to book European qualification than a return ticket to the Championship.
Sitting pretty in sixth place, Chris Wilder is rightly receiving the plaudits for guiding his side to the upper reaches of the top flight and is many observers’ tip to be crowned manager of the year in May despite the unprecedented feats of Jurgen Klopp at champions-elect Liverpool.
And it’s easy to see why because not only has the United boss steered his side to the top table in the Premier League by employing pioneering tactics such as overlapping central defenders, he has done so by using the least valuable squad in the division.
Now while this will come as no surprise to Blades supporters who watch Wilder’s side week in, week out, it does once again highlight the remarkable job the 52-year-old has performed in the Bramall Lane hotseat.
For football analytical website Transfermarkt.com has listed each team’s most valuable XI from the current campaign, with United propping up the rest in 20th place.
The site says United’s starting XI for the 2-0 defeat at champions Manchester City last month was their most valuable to date, worth £73.8m.
In stark contrast, runway leaders Liverpool top the charts with a starting XI valued at a staggering £838.80m for their Boxing Day clash at then second-placed Leicester City.
Unsurprisingly, Manchester City is in second place with the side which started the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in August valued at a jaw-dropping £724.50m.
So, with the Merseysiders and Pep Guardiola’s men dominating proceedings on and off the pitch, it would seem the more your players are valued, the higher in the table you’ll probably finish – unless you are Chris Wilder and United, who continue to defy modern-day football logic.
And who would bet against the Blades boss continuing this trend?