If you were to tell any Sheffield United supporter in 2016 that their club would be preparing to face the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea just three years later, they would’ve understandably have been bemused.
With the Blades languishing in the third tier, chairman Kevin McCabe decided to replace Nigel Adkins with Chris Wilder who had just won the League Two title with Northampton Town.
Although a popular choice at the time amongst United’s fan-base, the 51-year-old knew that the pressure was on to secure promotion and therefore made a drastic change to his side’s playing style to incorporate a free-flowing 3-5-2 system which eventually paid dividends.
After steam-rolling their way through League One, the Blades completed their rise to prominence earlier this month by finishing second in the Championship and thus booking their place in the top-tier for next season.
Despite already being a cult hero at Bramall Lane, Wilder be hoping to add to his legacy by building a squad that is capable of competing with the very best that England has to offer over the coming years.
With the next few months being an extremely important period for United, it is of little surprise that they have already been linked with a move for one of the lower league’s brightest young talents.
According to talkSPORT, the Blades are reportedly interested in signing Leyton Orient forward Macauley Bonne when the transfer window opens in July.
A natural-born finisher, the Zimbabwean international played an integral role in helping Justin Edinburgh’s side win the National League title yet could be tempted to leave Brisbane Road if the right offer comes in this summer.
Keeping this rumour in mind, let’s compare Bonne with one of the Blades’ current attacking ace’s…
Since joining Orient in 2017 from Colchester United, Macauley Bonne has undoubtedly taken his game to new heights.
By improving his consistency in-front of goal, the 23-year-old is now rightfully considered as one of the most dangerous players in lower league football as he has found the back of the net on 45 occasions in his last two seasons.
Yet despite having all the ingredients needed to thrive at a higher level, there is no guarantee that Bonne will be good enough to compete in the Premier League and so signing him would be a huge risk for the Blades to take.
TT GRADE: B
A fan favourite at Bramall Lane, Billy Sharp has been nothing short of sensational since re-joining United in 2015.
Having fired his boyhood club to two promotions in three years, the £1.8m-rated star (via Transfermarkt) will be rubbing his hands at getting the opportunity to test himself against the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte next season.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Sharp has shown no signs of slowing down in recent years and could prove to be the all-important difference between the Blades achieving survival or suffering relegation in 2020.
TT GRADE: A
Although Macauley Bonne is undeniably playing the best football of his career at Orient, it could be argued that he is not ready to make the giant leap that is required to compete in the Premier League and thus the Blades should steer well clear of signing the forward.
With better-attacking options at his disposal in the form of David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp, if Wilder is thinking of bringing in some reinforcements in this position this summer, he simply has to be targeting players who have a proven track-record of producing the goods in the higher divisions.
Blades fans, should Wilder consider making a move for Bonne when the transfer window opens in July? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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