Alan Biggs: Sheffield United can afford to let Sander Berge and Lys Mousset leave but a line has to be drawn
Keeping all your best players is a pretty big statement when you are relegated. And, of course, there are exceptions to every good intention.
Plus it’s easier said than done for Sheffield United - taking at face value that they genuinely want to - now that Chris Wilder has departed.
The fear has to be that tempting offers will arrive, not only to the club but to players who would otherwise have thrown in their lot with a trusted and revered manager.
This is an opinion column, you have a right to honesty and I think you know my views on the sad loss of an inspirational figurehead. These won’t change. However, there is a time to move on.
Hopefully all at United can do the same and once opinions are expressed, to which everyone is entitled, there is a line to be drawn and a club to support.
If Prince Abdullah is committed to letting the next manager manage - rather than impose a new structure resisted by Wilder - and retaining the core squad, as has been briefed elsewhere, then applause from here.
Added to which, the owners could hardly be blamed if Sander Berge departs. It would be entirely understandable, if regrettable.
Amid justified criticism about the impact, or lack of, from those £20m forwards Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie, it’s maybe conveniently forgotten that the other £20m man showed enough to suggest he can be a success for his club.
If not on the field, where Berge started slowly, but in monetary value. Some will disagree but I thought he demonstrated earlier this season, pre injury, that he can be a dynamic force in the Premier League or top divisions abroad.
Tony Currie saw that and told me he reckoned Berge could become “THE player for us.”
You could understand the Norwegian midfielder wishing not to risk stalling his career and I’d be surprised if United can’t hold out for more than they paid for his services. In other words, a tidy profit.
Even more so for many others if they were sold ... Jack O’Connell, John Egan, John Fleck ... you could go on, it would be quite a list of Wilder recruits making money for the club.
Go back to the “failed” list and find Lys Mousset. Ok, potential unfulfilled but potential all the same.
You would like to think that United would get at least their £10m back for the French forward, who demonstrated in more fits than starts that he does have the ability for top level football in England.
Mousset is one I feel United could afford to offload, Berge also. And John Lundstram, of course, plus others outside of the “best performers” bracket.
But stop there please. If you can.
It’s a salvage job initially to reclaim the spirit and togetherness of a phenomenal group and add to it.
As for the management, can the “irreplaceable” be replaced? The board will be judged on what they do next and how they do it.