This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
If reports are to be believed, Sheffield United are about to make Neal Maupay their second signing of the summer.
The 22-year-old netted 25 goals in the Championship last season, but the most interesting thing about this transfer is that it sees Chris Wilder do something he’s never done before as Sheffield United manager.
The Blades have reportedly managed to negotiate Brentford’s asking price for Maupay down to £15m from £22m, and now the deal seemingly has the green light to go ahead.
This will represent the first time Wilder has ever signed a foreign player for the Blades after exclusively purchasing British and Irish players in each of his first three seasons in charge at Bramall Lane. Cameron Carter-Vickers may be seen as the exception to this rule, but the USA international was born and raised in England.
You would have to go back to 2015 to find the last time Wilder signed a foreign player as he loaned Italy U20 international Diego De Girolamo from Sheffield United during his time as Northampton boss, and even then he was born in Chesterfield.
Wilder has generally avoided signing foreign players, but that could be all about to change if Maupay arrives.
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Promotion to the Premier League brings about a new challenge for the Steel City outfit, and for this new challenge they need a new approach.
While using British players has gotten Wilder this far, he’s no fool and he certainly realises that some of the best players in the top flight are from overseas.
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It isn’t a huge change of approach as Maupay has plenty of experience playing in England, having played over 80 Championship matches for Brentford. That’s something Wilder has always looked for, but it does show that he is willing to broaden his horizons when searching for new signings, and that could bode well for the Blades.