Sheffield United: Could Norwich City 'outcast' be a good replacement for Morgan Gibbs-White? - Opinion

When Sheffield United’s recruitment team met for their first post-season debrief this summer, the need to replace Morgan Gibbs-White featured somewhere around position one on their agenda.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:14 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 5:30 pm

The England U21 international will be a difficult player to replace, such was his influence last season on a side that started poorly but came within a penalty shootout of reaching the Championship play-off final.

Gibbs-White returned to Wolves with the player and young player of the season awards tucked under his arm, and he will deservedly go on to bigger and better things now.

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But how do United replace him? Players with the swagger, confidence and ability Gibbs-White showed aren’t exactly ten-a-penny and the list of clubs looking to sign such players on loan from the Premier League isn’t short, either.

So how about a punt on the Norwich City forward, Todd Cantwell? It’s a speculative suggestion, rather than one based on any confirmed interest from Bramall Lane, but he certainly appears the sort of player who could make a Gibbs-White-style difference to United’s fortunes next season.

Still only 24 years old, Cantwell spent last season on loan at AFC Bournemouth and after the Cherries elected against taking up the option in his contract to sign him permanently, he is reportedly going to be made available again this summer.

Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell of Norwich City take part in a training session (Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

Something of a Championship promotion specialist, having earned Premier League promotion in all three of the last seasons he has played at second-tier level, Cantwell’s statistics from his last full campaign at Championship level stack up well against Gibbs-White’s at United.

The Canaries have extended his contract by a further year, but more in hope of achieving a suitable fee than any expectation of his Carrow Road career turning round. With his career approaching something of a crossroads, a top Championship move could be exactly what Cantwell needed and with time ticking down on his contract by the day, the reported £11m fee agreed with Bournemouth should also reduce.

Would Norwich do business with a direct promotion rival in United? Would he fit in Paul Heckingbottom’s plans, both as a player and personality? Will it matter anyway when he inevitably signs for Blackburn Rovers? All remains to be seen. Roll on the start of the season…!