Sheffield United were busy in the transfer window this summer. Manager Chris Wilder welcomed ten new arrivals to Bramall Lane in preparation for his side’s first Premier League campaign.
Having earned promotion from the Championship last season, Wilder will have known that a crucial summer lay ahead. Failure to conduct smart business in the window could cripple the Yorkshire club’s survival hopes before a ball is kicked. However, the Blades boss is sure that he’s done enough to give his team their best chance of avoiding the drop.
Sheffield United’s single biggest outlay was the club-record £20 million they spent on Oli McBurnie, who arrived from Swansea City. The 23-year-old striker was one of four arrivals from the Championship, alongside Ben Osborn, Luke Freeman and Callum Robinson.
Wilder has defended his decision to recruit so heavily from the second tier. As quoted by the Evening Express, Wilder said, “we are at a different level to every Premier League club. We can’t go and buy somebody from Everton, or even if we did then we couldn’t afford his wages. You look at players in the Premier League, a lot of them started off in the Championship”.
Wilder is right. Many of the top stars in the Premier League cut their teeth in the division below. Wilder sites a specific, Sheffield United-related, example: “Harry Maguire, the world’s most expensive centre-half, started off with Sheffield United in League One…So everyone has to start somewhere”
Should Sheffield United achieve Premier League survival this season, no one will care where Wilder recruited his players from.