Sheffield United stand firm over Sander Berge amid Arsenal interest
Sheffield United have again refused to lower their asking price for midfielder Sander Berge, despite coming under pressure from Arsenal to negotiate the Norway international’s valuation.
As The Star first revealed two months ago, United told Premier League clubs it will cost at least £35m to sign Berge during a series of top secret meetings earlier this year, when it became clear they were heading for relegation back to the Championship.
Although no official lines of communication between the Emirates Stadium and Bramall Lane have been opened, the message was relayed by a broker hired to ensure United receive top dollar for any players who ask to depart this summer in order to prolong their careers at the highest level.
Having also been offered to their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur before Jose Mourinho’s departure, Arsenal remain in pole position to sign Berge who has spoken of his desire to appear in the Champions League again after representing his former club Genk in the competition.
But they are reluctant to meet United’s demands about both the sum required to acquire the 23-year-old and proposed payment schedule, with Bramall Lane’s board of directors insisting it is ‘front loaded’ rather than dependent upon performance related clauses.
United, who paid £22m for Berge 17 months ago, have so far resisted invitations to try and reach a compromise.
After making a full recovery from a serious hamstring injury sustained during December’s defeat by Manchester United, Berge made what is expected to be the last of his 32 appearances for United against Crystal Palace on May 8.
With John Lundstram also set to leave when his contract expires shortly, new United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has made an attacking midfielder his number one priority during the forthcoming transfer window.
United believe that by confirming the Serb’s appointment more than a month before he officially takes charge, they have staved off the threat of seeing other members of their first team squad being tempted by moves elsewhere.
Jokanovic, who is still employed by Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, presented United with a list of options during a meeting with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last week.