Sheffield United: A tale of two strikers as The Blades bag the bargain of the season
He already looks like being one of the bargains of the season, despite costing somewhere around £10m.
But according to one of his team mates, Lys Mousset is destined to get even better despite scoring five times in as many Premier League starts for Sheffield United.
“He’s looking fitter and sharper,” midfielder Oliver Norwood said, tracing the centre-forward’s journey at Bramall Lane. “Long may that continue and I’m sure it will. I think he’ll continue to improve.”
Little was known about Mousset when he first arrived at Bramall Lane. AFC Bournemouth, his previous club, had used the 23-year-old sparingly despite fending-off interest from Tottenham Hotspur before signing him from Le Havre.
Inevitably, given that experience on the south coast, eyebrows were raised when United handed over an eight figure sum to acquire Mousset’s services following their promotion from the Championship. But the money they spent has already proved a sound investment, with the 23-year-old’s value likely to have more than doubled following a series of superb performances for Chris Wilder’s side.
After claiming a goal against Manchester United seven days earlier and helping to create another for John Fleck, was on target again when Chris Wilder’s side drew with Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. The finish, a perfectly placed shot into the bottom corner of the net, maintained his record of converting every single effort he has mustered on target since joining United.
Still, as both Wilder and now Norwood have pointed out, Mousset has plenty of room to improve. His fitness levels will rise as the season progresses and, rather than diminishing in influence during the closing stages of contests, the Frenchman should find himself in a position to wreak even greater havoc as opposition defenders tire.
“Long may Lys continue to keep on doing what he’s doing,” Norwood said. “Hopefully he keeps on scoring goals.”
Barring injury or illness, Mousset is expected to lead United’s attack alongside David McGoldrick when Newcastle visit Bramall Lane on Thursday. Their partnership has been a driving force behind United’s climb into the upper reaches of the table, despite starting the campaign as the bookmakers’ favourites for relegation.
Unlike Mousset, McGoldrick has yet to open his account for the campaign and, by Wilder’s own admission, cut a frustrated figure in the dressing room following the match at Molineux.
That prompted Wilder to personally reassure the Republic of Ireland international of his importance to the United cause and, echoing that sentiment, Norwood said: “The goal will come for him, it’s just one of those things at the minute.
“But it’s not just the goals with him, it’s everything else he brings to the team. We’re a different team with him in it at the minute.”
“We appreciate how good a footballer he is and it will come, no doubt about that,” Norwood added. “We’re fortunate to have a footballer of that class in our team. He’s definitely under-rated. We’re a better team with him in it than not. That’s been proven.”