Sheffield United will refuse to lower their valuation of Norway international Sander Berge

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Sheffield United are expected to demand a fee of more than £35m for Sander Berge, if Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur decide to pursue their interest in the midfielder.

Berge, a Norway international, appears destined to leave Bramall Lane this summer when United are back to the Championship following two seasons in the top-flight.

Although officials in South Yorkshire insist they have no plans to break up the core of the squad Chris Wilder constructed before departing as manager earlier this month, with the team entering the international break 14 points adrift of safety with only nine games left to play there is an acceptance some high-profile names will move on.

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Berge, who earlier this term revealed it was his ambition to return to the Champions League after appearing in the competition for Genk, is likely to be among them. But claims that United will consider offers of £28m - a £6m return on the investment they made to acquire the 23-year-old 14 months ago - are understood to be wide of the mark.

Instead, using data compiled by the CIES Football Observatory - which analyses statistical and economic trends within the game - United believe Berge is now worth considerably more, despite being absent since December with a hamstring complaint.

With researchers at the Swiss based institute estimating he should command between £30m and £40m on the open market, a bid somewhere between the two could tempt them United to the negotiating table.

Despite refusing to enter the race for Berge when he left Belgium, Liverpool are also reportedly monitoring his situation in South Yorkshire.

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Capped 24 times by his country, Berge made a slow start to his career in England after joining United in January last year. However, he was beginning to show signs of the talent which had also prompted the likes of Napoli to track his development when he was injured during a match against Manchester United just before Christmas.

Sander Berge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/SportimageSander Berge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sander Berge of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Despite recently suffering a slight setback in his recovery programme, United still hope Berge will return to action before the end of the season.

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