Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on David Brooks and his transfer policy
One day, perhaps in the not so distant future if AFC Bournemouth fail to gain promotion and Sheffield United secure another season in the Premier League, Chris Wilder has admitted he would “love to bring” David Brooks back to Bramall Lane.
But for the time being at least, as his board of directors grapple with the financial challenges created by the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United manager accepts he must continue to take risks in the transfer market rather than signing proven, top-flight players.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit to Arsenal, as he balances preparing his team for their latest outing with completing United’s latest recruitment drive, Wilder acknowledged identifying players with potential to develop remains the primary focus - not capturing the finished article.
“I’d love, and maybe I’m out of order for saying this but I mean it with the utmost respect, to bring David Brooks back to this football club,” Wilder said, reflecting upon the chain of events which saw the Wales international swap South Yorkshire for the south coast two years ago. “If he was available that is. Maybe I’m wrong for talking about him. But he’s a match winner.”
Brooks, aged 23, was already regarded as one of the most promising talents in the country when he left United, then competing at Championship level, in a near £12m deal. It speaks volumes about his progression since that an injury, which forced him to miss long spells of last term, was cited as a factor behind Bournemouth’s relegation from the PL earlier this year.
Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, who Wilder wants to boost United’s attacking options, falls into the same category as Brooks. Although he is not established at senior level, the youngster has already demonstrated enough to suggest he has what it takes to make an impact at the highest level.
“Take Oli Burke, who we brought in from West Brom over the summer,” Wilder said, explaining the principles behind his interest in Brewster. “It was a terrific piece of business but we also have to take a chance.
“We can’t go and get someone for £60m. So what we have to do is turn the lads we caninto something that suits us. It’s not just to do with us, it’s a combination for the players as well.”