Sheffield United's interest in Sander Berge: The truth
Sheffield United’s interest in Sander Berge, one of Europe’s most coveted young midfielders, has been described as “concrete” despite suggestions the Premier League club lack the funds to push through a deal.
Although it is understood United and Genk, the Norwegian’s parent club, have yet to agree a fee for the 21-year-old, discussions have taken place between officials at Bramall Lane and the Luminus Arena according to one source involved in the negotiation process.
That suggests HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who seized control of United following a dispute with Kevin McCabe earlier this term, has revised the budget United’s board placed at Chris Wilder’s disposal before the start of the transfer window.
Berge is thought to be valued at around £19m after impressing since his move to Belgium three years ago.
A senior international, he has been capped 20 times by his country and featured for Hannes Wolf’s side in this season’s Champions League group stages.
Despite refusing to divulge the exact amount of money he was handed by United’s hierarchy, The Star has been told Wilder was initially given around £10m to bolster his squad following talks with Prince Abdullah over the Autumn period.
After unveiling former Nottingham Forest defender Jack Robinson and Jack Rodwell, previously of Manchester City, England and Everton ahead of last weekend’s FA Cup win over Millwall, questions have been asked whether United possess the financial muscle required to sign a player of Berge’s calibre; particularly given the fact several other top-flight sides have also been monitoring his progress.
That might still prove to be the case, particularly with Genk determined to hold out for the highest sum possible before eventually sanctioning Berge’s release.
But after renewing their interest - the player was also the subject of a tentative enquiry from United in July - Wilder’s employers clearly feel it is possible to broker a compromise ahead of Friday’s deadline.
Eighth in the table, United return to league action when they visit Crystal Palace on Saturday.