When Sheffield United announced the loan signing of Gary Madine in January from Cardiff City, their supporters were understandably perplexed.
The forward’s connections to their arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday led to concerns about whether he was the right player to bring in for the second-half of the season. During a four year stint with the Owls, Madine helped the club achieve promotion from League One with his performances in the 2012/13 campaign earning him cult status at Hillsborough.
With a need to prove himself to Blades fans almost immediately, the 28-year-old has so far failed to deliver.
Now 13 games into his loan spell at Bramall Lane, Madine, who is valued at £3.6 million (by Transfermarkt), has scored just twice in ten appearances whilst he has also shown a worrying sign in terms of discipline. The former Bolton Wanderers ace is currently serving a three-match ban after being sent off in United’s 2-0 victory against Brentford last month.
Although he is scheduled to return for his side’s fixture against Birmingham City, it is extremely unlikely that will be brought back into the starting eleven by Chris Wilder, especially when you consider that Scott Hogan, David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp have impressed during his absence.
With just seven games to play in the Championship this season, it is paramount for the Blades that they have a group of players who they can rely upon and unfortunately for Madine, this may mean that he will have limited opportunities over the next five weeks. Even if he does earn a spot in the team, Wilder should steer clear of bringing him in on a permanent deal in the summer, especially if United secure promotion to the Premier League.
Madine’s record in the top tier leaves a lot to be desired as he failed to score for Cardiff during the first-half of the season and arguably doesn’t have the ability to succeed in the top flight. Therefore, the Blades would be more suited to bring a forward with proven ability if they secure a top-two finish in May.
What do you think United fans? How do you rate Madine’s impact since joining in January? Should Wilder sign him on a permanent deal in the summer? Let us know below.