Leeds United can sign midfielder Sander Berge from Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United for a fee of £35m this summer.
Transfer insider Dean Jones wrote in a column for GiveMeSport last week that Leeds had identified Berge as a potential successor to Kalvin Phillips.
There is an increasing expectation that Phillips will leave Elland Road to join Manchester City, as per The Athletic‘s Phil Hay.
Jones reported that the Blades valued Berge at around £25m, adding that Leeds do not see new signing Marc Roca as a sufficient replacement for Phillips alone.
Sheffield Star journalist James Shield has now shared some insight, having spoken to sources at Bramall Lane.
The Championship club are aware that ‘agents acting on the Norway international’s behalf’ are trying to arrange a move but they have yet to receive any formal approaches from Leeds, or any indeed any other prospective suitors.
Shield said that interested parties ‘could be forced’ to pay Berge’s full £35m release clause, but he suspects that the Blades are ‘unlikely to demand’ the full amount.
Intriguingly, he also raises the possibility that Leeds could offer Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom the chance to sign defender Charlie Cresswell on loan, addressing one of his transfer priorities.
Berge may be looking for a way out of Bramall Lane after the Blades lost to Nottingham Forest in the playoff semi-finals, consigning them to another season of Championship football after their Premier League relegation in 2021.
Would he be a smart Phillips replacement? It’s interesting to note that he played most of his football last season as a central rather than a defensive midfielder.
He offers his own unique qualities, recording 10 goal contributions (six goals, four assists) last term and averaging 1.3 successful dribbles per 90 minutes (via WhoScored), although it’s worth noting that he’d be arriving in tandem with Roca, so wouldn’t necessarily need to be a like-for-like heir to Phillips.
Indeed, surrounded by midfielders who complement his skill set, he could thrive. Indeed, The Athletic’s Richard Sutcliffe previously described the combination of Berge, Morgan Gibbs-White and Iliman Ndiaye as a ‘Holy Trinity’ at Bramall Lane.
In other news, this Leeds podcaster reacts to Fabrizio Romano’s Raphinha update.
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