This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Ever since he arrived at Bramall Lane in the summer of 2017, Enda Stevens has become a firm favourite with Sheffield United fans.
Stevens moved to Yorkshire from Portsmouth FC on a free transfer via Transfermarkt, linking up with Chris Wilder’s men shortly after the Blades had been promoted from League One to the Championship.
The left-back had to battle for a place in the starting lineup with first-choice defender Danny Lafferty, who had played in 38 games in the English third tier in the season beforehand.
Evidently Stevens relished the rivalry, as he quickly supplanted Lafferty as a regular starter, making 45 appearances for Wilder’s side in the Championship during the 2017/18 campaign (Transfermarkt).
It is fair to say Stevens hasn’t once looked back, and his displays on the left flank helped to establish the defender as a permanent feature in the squad, which has continued to this day.
Following his stellar debut season, the wing-back again featured in 45 games during United’s famous charge up the table, bagging 4 goals, providing 6 assists, averaging 2.5 tackles per game, and making a staggering 2.8 clearances on average, helping the Blades achieve promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 2007 (WhoScored).
He has quickly had to adapt to life in the English top flight, a far cry from his time in the depths of League Two with Northampton Town, but it seems he has embraced the challenge with open arms.
At present, Stevens has played in 28 games for Sheffield United in the Premier League, picking up his first assist against Chelsea towards the start of the season, and netting his first goal in the competition away to Norwich City in December (Transfermarkt).
The 29-year-old has put in a string of impressive performances over the course of the campaign, including scoring a goal of the month contender against Brighton & Hove Albion earlier in the year, and his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by the board, as he was rewarded with a new contract in March.
Notably, the Republic of Ireland international has been a key part of Wilder’s formidable defence, as the Blades have conceded the second-lowest amount of goals in the league up until now, just behind Champions League winners Liverpool. He has recorded a staggering 2.3 tackles, 1.5 clearances, and 1.1 interceptions on average, and this implies he can make valuable contributions at the back and in attack (WhoScored).
Based on the statistics so far, it appears the left-back is coping rather comfortably with in the first division, which makes his free transfer even more mind-boggling, as he is clearly worth far more.
Given his age, Stevens’ wealth of experience could prove vital as Chris Wilder’s side push for European football, and his £4.95m-rated market value will no doubt increase if United can reach the lofty heights of some of their closest rivals. One thing is for sure, signing him for nothing was an absolute masterstroke by the Blades boss.
Sheffield United fans, do you think Enda Stevens has proven to be an absolute bargain? Let us know in the comments below!
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