The Sheffield United transfer puzzle that needs to be sorted one way or another - Alan Biggs
Potentially worth is another thing entirely.
First thing to say, I’m a fan. I like his attitude and team ethic besides his exciting ability as a powerful, rangy attacker from deep positions. He is capable of becoming a real top player.
But if I were a Blades supporter I would not be averse to Berge’s sale for a decent price - providing, and only providing, it freed up funds for recruitment.
And right now, in this column’s humble opinion, he is not a £35m player, the contractual amount stipulated for his release.
Nor do I think United should set the bar that high or that anyone will pay it. You suspect offers topping £20m have every chance, which seems reasonable enough considering the player’s showing so far.
If he remains, Heckingbottom would be right to demand more. More starts, more goals, more assists, more impact on games.
In more than two years at the Lane, Berge has made 60 league appearances, including as sub, with seven goals.
You’d ideally have been looking for close to 100 of the first and 15 to 20 of the second considering that Berge - allowing that he has had injuries and settling challenges - cost £22m from Genk in January, 2020.
The Blades should make a profit, as he’s shown what he’s capable of, but not by as much as £13m.
Moreover, Berge has been a key unmoving piece of the club’s transfer puzzle, everything revolving around him and yet here we are at checkmate a few weeks before the new season.
The issue needs to be resolved speedily one way or the other; I wouldn’t be too fussed which.
Heckingbottom is insulated to some degree with the impressive loan capture of young Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle who, crucially, shone in the Championship in a spell at Cardiff last season.
As for Berge, he’s 24. If he stays he should be hitting his peak. That could still be a very enticing prospect.