Sheffield United: Signing of Richard Stearman shows Blades are serious about competing in the Championship

Richard Stearman and Chris Wilder
Richard Stearman and Chris Wilder
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Proven Championship experience. A decent age. Physically imposing.

Richard Stearman certainly ticks most of the boxes in terms of recruitment, for Sheffield United, who unveiled him on a three-year deal today after paying a "substantial, undisclosed" fee to Fulham.

Colleagues who observed him at close quarters remember him as the best player on the pitch in games, on loan for Wolves, against Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds last season. While United's recruitment has focused on lower-league gems so far this summer, this signing signals their intent at having a serious crack at the Championship next season after last season's League One title triumph.

"Richard was our number one target throughout the summer and I'm delighted he has signed," said Blades boss Chris Wilder.

"We've been on the look out for a central defender who has played extensively in the Championship and who possesses the qualities and characteristics to fit in with our group.

"Richard will undoubtedly strengthen us, he's a calm influence in the dressing room and every manager who I have spoken to about him says he has outstanding leadership qualities and will offer 100 per cent commitment, on and off the pitch.

"He had other opportunities to pursue, but I am delighted we have managed to tempt him to Bramall Lane."

In 2011, the Republic of Ireland attempted to acquire his services as Stearman has an Irish grandparent. The 29-year-old made 18 Championship appearances for Wolves last season and will always be remembered at Molineux for his early goal at Anfield against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

But now, for both United and Stearman, it's time to look forward and to, they'll hope, a successful time together.