Ricky Holmes’ ‘top-knot’ hairstyle may not feature prominently in the Chris Wilder stylebook, but it is the inside of the Charlton star’s head, rather than the outside, that has persuaded the Blades boss to make another move for the 29-year-old.
Wilder, whose side will compete in the Championship next season after finally escaping the clutches of League One by winning the title, wants to make Holmes his fifth signing of the summer after already recruiting Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas, Enda Stevens and George Baldock.
Charlton, who voted Holmes as their player of the season, are understandably desperate to keep him and hope a new deal will keep him out of Wilder’s clutches.
But, as our graphic shows, Holmes has produced the most consistent football of his career under Wilder, when the two were together at Northampton and won the League Two title.
“I know Holmsey really well,” Wilder said after United’s victory over Charlton in March.
“He gives it his all. He turns up every game.”
Holmes was the best player that day in a very good Charlton side, probably the best to visit Bramall Lane all season.
He scored a stunning free-kick in the third minute to open the scoring, before United hit back through Jack O’Connell and Daniel Lafferty, but his meeting with the press afterwards was almost as impressive as what had gone before it, and offered an insight into why Wilder has pursued him.
“I have to run myself into the ground,” he said.
“Every man who puts on the shirt for any club should give their all. Especially as professionals, the punters work hard and pay good money to watch us so why shouldn’t we?
“It’s the only way I can play. If I go out there half-hearted, I’m useless.”
That’ll be music to the ears of Wilder, who has placed attitude on par with, if not above, ability in any possible recruits this summer.
If United can prise him away from The Valley then Holmes, at 29, is experienced enough to adapt his game to the Championship and seize his big opportunity.
And whatever happens, he’ll certainly put a shift in.