The Daily Mail recently reported that Sheffield United are amongst the clubs keeping a close eye on Rotherham United midfielder Will Vaulks.
Chris Wilder could be plotting a summer swoop for the 25-year-old who has been consistently impressing in the Championship all season.
The Blades are currently flying high in the league and are in the thick of the title hunt. The club’s recruitment team will of course be aware of this, and will therefore be planning their summer transfer strategy with the fact that they may be a Premier League club by that time in mind. That suggests Sheffield United consider Vaulks good enough to take the step up into the top flight with them.
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Signing Vaulks could certainly have some knock-on effects at Bramall Lane. We take a look at the potential consequences below…
The Blades are currently pretty well-stocked in the middle of the park. The likes of John Fleck and Oliver Norwood have impressed for Wilder’s team in the engine room this season. However, the make up of United’s midfield contingent could change drastically this summer.
West Ham United showed interest in signing Fleck during the recent January transfer window, as reported by Sky Sports at the time. Should the Irons come back in for the 27-year-old in the summer, they may just land their man – especially if Sheffield United already have Vaulks lined up to replace him.
On top of that, should Sheffield United get promoted this season, the arrival of Vaulks could force others out. Paul Coutts, for instance, may not make the cut for the Premier League with the Rotherham man in to take his place in the squad.
The Blades have played some attractive football this season, but should they make the leap to the top tier of the English game, Wilder may decide that a more pragmatic approach is in order.
With Kieran Dowell’s loan switch from Everton to Bramall Lane set to expire at the end of the season, Wilder may not opt to replace the attacking midfielder in a like for like manner. Instead, the Sheffield United boss could bring in the more defensively-minded Vaulks in order to pack out his midfield and make his team a more solid and compact unit.
Such a shift in style may not sit easily with the fans, but given the quality of the Blades’ current squad, it may represent their best chance of Premier League survival.
Vaulks primarily operates as a central midfielder for Rotherham, but in the past he has filled in effectively in the heart of the defence and as a full-back. Wilder may have this in mind for Vaulks at Bramall Lane.
Considering Wilder lines up his side with three at the back, he needs a good number of defenders in his squad. With Martin Cranie’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, and Richard Stearman struggling for regular game time and therefore likely to be let go in the summer, Vaulks may have been earmarked as a potential centre-back option for United.