Sheffield United: Newcastle interest in Sander Berge could rekindle talk of a move for Magpies star

As Newcastle consider submitting a bid for their midfielder Sander Berge during next month’s transfer window, Sheffield United could find themselves being linked with a player who appeared destined for Bramall Lane before his proposed move was hijacked by the Premier League club.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 3:15 pm

Berge, the second most expensive purchase in United’s history, is thought to feature on a list of potential targets compiled by officials at St James’ Park following their recent takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

If the Norway international does make the switch to the North-East - where manager Eddie Howe is attempting to steer Newcastle out of the relegation zone - his presence could cast doubt over Jeff Hendrick’s future, with the 29-year-old making only four top-flight appearances since August.

Intriguingly, Hendrick is known to have been approached by United during Chris Wilder’s spell in charge - when it became clear he would be leaving Burnley at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Sheffield United and Norway midfielder Sander Berge is said to interest Premier League club Newcastle: David Klein / Sportimage

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Capped nearly 70 times by the Republic of Ireland, Hendrick eventually joined Newcastle instead but has struggled for regular football this term.

Although Wilder is now working at Middlesbrough, who are scheduled to visit South Yorkshire this weekend, his head of recruitment Paul Mitchell - one of those responsible for identifying Hendrick as a possible acquisition - remains at United after being kept on by both Slavisa Jokanovic and his successor Paul Heckingbottom.

Jeff Hendrick of Newcastle United has struggled for game time in the Premier League this season and was once wanted by Sheffield United: MacNicol/Getty Images

However, Hendrick is likely to be beyond United’s financial reach after they surrendered their top-flight status in April. The disruption caused to the Championship fixture schedule by Covid-19 has also proven costly, with the postponement of their games against Queens Park Rangers, Preston North End and Hull City likely to have led to more than £200,000 in lost revenue.

United’s opponents all informed the English Football League they were unable to contest those matches after reporting a number of positive tests within their squads.

Berge, aged 23, made his return from injury when United beat Fulham earlier this month. He interested Napoli before signing a four-and-a-half year contract with them after leaving Genk 23 months ago, commanding a fee thought to be in the region of £22m.