Sheffield United: The hidden advantage to signing Lys Mousset

Seventy-two hours after stories began appearing on social media that Lys Mousset had completed his medical at Bramall Lane - reports which raised eyebrows among those arranging the transfer who insisted he was still 230 miles away - the centre-forward did arrive in South Yorkshire to complete a deal which saw him become the most expensive player in Sheffield United's long history.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 18:31 pm
Manager Chris Wilder welcomes new signing Lys Mousset to Sheffield United (Sheffield United)

It is not a title Mousset is expected to enjoy for long, with Chris Wilder reiterating his belief earlier this week that more players, carrying even bigger price tags, will arrive in the near future. But Mousset, for the time being at least, can enjoy basking in the full glare of the spotlight after officially becoming a Blade.

"I like how the manager spoke to me," he said. "I want to play, help the team and I'm happy to be here."

Mousset, aged 23, becomes the fifth new face to join United's squad since their promotion from the Championship last season. The first through the door - Luke Freeman - broke their previous transfer record after leaving Queens Park Rangers. The third - Callum Robinson - smashed it again after waving goodbye to Preston North End. Phil Jagieka, who started his career at United before heading for Everton, was sandwiched in between while Ravel Morrison has also come on board following a successful trial.

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Although Mousset's presence brings United's total spend this summer to around £24m - already £4m more than the budget some outlets claimed Wilder had been handed to build a team capable of competing at Premier League level - perhaps the most important aspect of the deal is the top-flight experience he brings. Despite primarily being deployed from the bench, Mousset has spent the past three seasons operating at the highest level. Although this is significantly less than the 12 years Jagielka, capped 40 times by England, spent on Merseyside, the knowledge the Frenchman has acquired could prove invaluable. The overwhelming majority of Wilder's side - Jagielka also spent a year with United in the PL - have never competed in England's most prestigious division.

"Yes, I'm big and quick," Mousset said. "I've been at the stadium seen the ground and the pitch and the club. It's good. All, really good."

After starting his career at Le Havre, Mousset joined Bournemouth in 2016 after impressing for his country at that summer's Toulon Tournament. Although starts on the south coast proved difficult to come by, the fact Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal had also courted his services underlines his potential.

Mousset joins Robinson, David McGoldrick and captain Billy Sharp in an attack which could, if both Wilder and the player concerned get their way, be boosted by Swansea City's Oli McBurnie. Brentford's Neal Maupay and Ben Osborn, the Notttingham Forest midfielder, have also attracted admiring glances from United.

"I'm very happy to be here," Mousset said. "The fact he (Wilder) was looking for me, the fact he wanted me, made me feel really good."