Sheffield United closing in on transfer breakthrough amid Sander Berge Burnley sale

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Blades closing in on fifth summer signing as Berge prepares to depart

Sheffield United hope to negate the disappointment of selling Sander Berge to Premier League rivals Burnley with the arrival of a midfield replacement, after making progress on a deal for Vinicius Souza.

The Star revealed recently that the Brazilian midfielder was a top target of United this summer ahead of the new Premier League season, after an impressive campaign in La Liga with Espanyol despite their relegation. United subsequently made contact with Belgian second-tier side Lommel, owned by the City Group, with progress on the deal understood to have been made recently.

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Souza has been linked with transfers to Celtic and Wolves in recent times while Burnley were also rumoured to be looking to hijack United’s move for the 24-year-old recently. But Vincent Kompany’s side, who won promotion to the Premier League alongside United and Luton Town last season, made a move for Berge instead, who was set to leave Bramall Lane as a free agent last summer.

Berge missed training with United on Tuesday to undertake a Burnley medical and is expected to be unveiled at Turf Moor ahead of their season-opener against Manchester City on Friday. If the deal is done in time, Berge would be pitted against his international teammate and great friend Erling Haaland while United would be left with another gaping hole in their squad ahead of their clash with Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon.

A defensive midfielder by trade, Souza’s statistics do not compare to Berge’s last season in terms of offensive output but if and when his arrival at Bramall Lane is confirmed, he will provide some real steel to a midfield that will be without John Fleck for a significant chunk of 2023. The Scotland midfielder has suffered a second fractured leg in the space of a year, picking up the injury in the recent friendly against Girona at City’s Etihad training campus - with Souza watching on.

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Importantly, based on his number of minutes played last season, and La Liga’s standing as a league, Souza would qualify automatically for a permit to play in England under the Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) visa points system introduced after Brexit.

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