Sheffield United linked with transfer swoop for ex-Netherlands youth star – but who is he, and will Blades make January move?

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Sheffield United have been credited with interest in a former Netherlands youth international, with Blades scouts reportedly travelling to see him in action in the Eredivisie.

But who is Tijjani Reijnders, where have the rumours come from and what are the chances of landing him? The 24-year-old scored the winner for AZ Alkmaar in a 2-1 victory over FC Volendam yesterday, despite his side being reduced to 10 men in just the 14th minute.

Football Insider – who reported earlier in the year that Sander Berge had agreed a deadline-day move to Club Brugge – claim that Paul Mitchell, United’s head of recruitment, had travelled to the Dutch city to check on Reijnders’ progress ahead of a possible January move. A midfielder by trade, Reijnders was named man of the match in his side’s victory which saw them finish the weekend third in the table, just two points behind leaders Ajax albeit having played a game more.

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Reijnders has five goals this season, three of which came in the Europa Conference League including two in a 7-0 thrashing of Dundee United, and certainly wouldn’t come cheap if he was to leave Holland any time soon. He is under contract at his club until 2025 and given Alkmaar’s position in the table, they would be loathe to lose one of their key men at a key time in the season.

As things stand United are not thought to be planning to do too much incoming business in January, as boss Paul Heckingbottom alluded to recently. But the situation may change depending on outgoings, with Berge expected to be linked once again with the exit door once he recovers from a knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines of late.

Focus on injury returns

The Blades are instead thought to be focused on getting some of their key men – including Berge – back up to fitness and full speed, and boosting Heckingbottom’s ranks that way. Ismaël Koné, the Montreal midfielder, had been lined up as Berge’s replacement if he left on deadline day and Heckingbottom admitted recently that he may return for the Canadian international in the future.

“January, if things do change with people coming in, fantastic,” Heckingbottom said recently. “If not, and that’s not what I’ve been told, then we’ll work with what we’ve been given. We’ve made cuts, because the budget was smaller. But we’ve also tried to be more proactive and make sure the quality and competition was good. I still think we’ve done that, by working together, and it’s important.”

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The Blades have form

United worked hard in the summer to bring in a number of attacking players on loan, with Tommy Doyle, James McAtee and Reda Khadra all arriving at Bramall Lane from top-flight clubs. Those deals are understood to have used up a significant chunk of Heckingbottom’s budget, although United, under owner Prince Abdullah, have previous form for finding money for previously-unexpected signings – most notably that of Berge when he arrived at Bramall Lane in January 2020 to become, at the time, the most expensive signing in United’s history.

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