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3 Players Sheffield United Must Build Around In 2024/25

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Even with pre-season expectations kept to a humble minimum, the 2023/24 campaign has been a disaster for Sheffield United.

They have become just the second team in Premier League history to concede 100 or more goals in a single campaign, with the Blades likely to surpass Swindon Town’s record of exactly 100 in the final games of the term.

Positives are in short supply, but Blades fans can at least look forward to a season in the Championship – a level they have thrived at in recent years.

So who should Chris Wilder build his promotion push around?

Ollie Norwood

August 2023 may feel like a lifetime ago for United fans given what has come since.

But you may just be able to remember the game against Manchester City at Bramall Lane that month. It was a contest that those who place their football bets gave the newly-promoted Blades no hope of winning.

However, Manchester City – the favourites in the Premiership title odds before a ball had been kicked, and so they remain at 3/10 with a couple of games to go – knew they were in a game alright.

It looked as though United might nick a point from the contest, until a late Rodri strike sealed a 2-1 victory for the defending champions.

This was a fine effort from the Blades, with Ollie Norwood commanding the midfield – he was arguably the best player on the pitch for United.

The 33-year-old hasn’t always been able to hit the heights since, but his experience and calm presence in midfield will prove vital to Wilder as he looks to build a starting eleven capable of making a promotion push.

Ben Brereton Diaz

There’s a hope that Wilder and his backroom team will be able to convince Ben Brereton Diaz to make his loan move from Villarreal a permanent one this summer.

That could be a tall order – six goals in 12 Premier League starts are a measure of the Chilean’s ability to play at the top level, but if they can twist his arm then signing Brereton Diaz would be a masterstroke.

He scored 22 Championship goals in 2021/22 and 14 a season later. Having struggled to hold down a first-team berth at his parent club, Brereton Diaz may seek a permanent move back to England in the transfer window – Sheffield United, where he has enjoyed his time, would be the ideal destination.

“Sheffield United are an amazing club and for me, they have big hopes of bouncing straight back next season,” the player has said. But will he be a part of it?

Gustavo Hamer

With ten goal involvements from midfield, Gustavo Hamer is one of the few Blades players to come out of the 2023/24 campaign with credit.

The Dutch-Brazilian has plenty of experience at Championship level with Coventry City, who he memorably helped to the play-off final in 2022/23, scoring their equaliser against Luton before suffering a heartbreaking defeat on penalties.

Hamer is the kind of player Wilder would love to keep around for his side’s promotion push, although given how well he has fared in the Premier League there could be plenty of suitors for the 26-year-old.

Norwood, Brereton Diaz, Hamer… Keep hold of those three and the Blades will have a solid foundation for a promotion push next season.

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