Ahead of the January transfer window the European and World champions Liverpool were in the market for Sander Berge, according to Genk’s Sporting Director.
A gifted central midfielder, he also attracted the beady eyes of Italian side Napoli.
But even before that regimented interest came about, Sheffield United were busy putting plans in place to sign the Norwegian.
Chris Wilder revealed to the 21-year-old on his first day at the club that he’d been to watch him back in September during Norway’s 1-1 draw with Sweden.
Assistant manager Alan Knill was also watching the former Genk man on a regular basis, exclaiming in video footage put out by the club that he’d been all over the world to see Berge in action.
This was an eye-catching signing, not just because he’d been linked with some of Europe’s top sides, but also because it broke the club’s transfer record.
Berge arrived in the north of England for a fee of £22m as owner Prince Abdullah put his money where his mouth is and pulled through with an addition that falls directly into his long-term visions for the club.
Coincidentally, at a similar time when Wilder was scouting Berge, the hierarchy were busy making promises for a better Sheffield United.
In September of 2019, Prince Abdullah said: “I think we need to improve step by step, we will not be able to qualify for the Champions League in one year but every year we stay we will be much better. This year we brought ten players – quality and quantity. Next year if we are in the Premier League we will be bringing two or three super players. We are optimistic that gradually it will be in a better position.”
Indeed, the Blades are in a better position but it’s highly likely it’s come about far sooner than anticipated. Coming up from the Championship on a low budget, the primary aim would have been to stay in the Premier League.
Instead, Wilder’s men are fighting for a Europa League place, sitting comfortably in the top half of the Premier League and as Abdullah promised, now landing ‘super players’.
They’ve already taken a huge step in achieving that optimistic ambition by signing someone like Berge, a player previously compared to Sergio Busquets.
On his Blades debut, the youngster won the ball back from an opponent as many as six times and as previously stated, had attracted the interest of the best side in world football.
If he initially appeared good enough for Jurgen Klopp, he is certainly someone in the mould of a super player.
This is an impressive start to furthering Prince Abdullah’s aims for the Yorkshire club.