Why Genk were forced to accept Sheffield United's bid for Sander Berge

Sander Berge’s desire to join Sheffield United forced Genk to admit defeat in the battle for the Norway international’s services, the Belgian club’s sporting director has conceded.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 6:19 pm

Speaking as Berge prepares to make his second appearance for Chris Wilder’s side against AFC Bournemouth this weekend, Dimitri de Conde revealed he had planned to keep the 21-year-old until this summer before allowing him to leave.

But a conversation with Berge, the player’s father and his agent - after United had resurrected their interest in the midfielder following an unsuccessful attempt to broker a deal in July - prompted de Conde to relent and sanction the £22m move.

Confirming Berge’s heart was set on a move to Bramall Lane, de Conde said: “We had a very respectful conversation and the conclusion was: it is better that we say goodbye now.”

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“Look, there are two facets to my job,” de Conde continued, during an interview with the Het Beland van Limburg newspaper. “One, for the experience, the interaction between players and fans, I enjoy that,

“And two, mutual respect.”

Berge made his full debut for United during their win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, playing nearly three-quarters of the game before being replaced by John Lundstram during the closing stages.

Although Lundstram impressed Wilder with a commanding second-half cameo, it would be a surprise if Berge does not start again when Eddie Howe’s team travels to South Yorkshire.

Sheffield United's Enda Stevens, Chris Basham and Sander Berge (R) applaud the fans after the final whistle during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London: Tess Derry/PA Wire.

“We want tough decisions,” the United manager said. “And that’s what we've been given. So good.”

Sheffield United's Sander Berge celebrates after the final whistle, following his Sheffield United debut: Tess Derry/PA Wire.