This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
It’ll all come down to what’s more important to Chris Wilder.
According to a report from Football Insider, Sheffield United are looking into the possibility of signing Jack Rodwell. The 28-year-old is a free agent having been released by Blackburn Rovers in the summer, and has recently been on trial with AS Roma.
Although he has spent most of his career as a midfielder, the report states that Blades boss Wilder is intending to use him as a central defender. But just how does he shape up in comparison to the rest of his potential future teammates?
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If he is going to be brought in as a centre-back rather than a midfielder where he has spent the majority of his career, the first port of call should be his defensive capabilities.
The current backline at Sheffield United consists of John Egan, Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell, but given their ages, it’s more than likely that Basham would be the one to make way for Rodwell should the deal go through, so we’re going to focus on that, just as we did when the Joe Rodon rumours were circulating.
Rodwell averages 1.3 tackles a game, 0.7 interceptions and 0.4 blocks per game, via WhoScored.
If you compare those numbers to those of Basham’s averages of 2.3, 1.6 and 0.5 and you can see quite clearly that Rodwell falls well short when put up against him.
The one area the three-cap international does come up trumps against the incumbent defender though is his passing ability, with a career passing percentage of 80.2%, which is far and away better than Basham’s 68.2% so far this season.
So if the deal goes through, Wilder will be given a bit of a conundrum to deal with. Will he sacrifice Basham’s defensive capabilities in order to accommodate Rodwell’s ability to keep the ball, or will he prioritise keeping the ball out of the back of the net?