Sheffield United’s pursuit of Conor Hourihane does not hinge on Sander Berge leaving Bramall Lane this summer.
That’s according to a report by The Sheffield Star, who claim that Slavisa Jokanovic will pursue a deal for the Aston Villa midfielder regardless of whether or not Berge leaves the club.
The report goes on to touch on the interest in the Blades midfielder, with Napoli, Arsenal and Atalanta all said to be keen on a move for the 23-year-old this summer.
However, The Star claimed that Hourihane – on whom Dean Smith is believed to be willing to cash in ahead of next season – is viewed by the Sheffield United transfer team as a replacement for the recently-departed John Lundstram rather than the Norway international.
Considering the impressive record that Hourihane boasts in the Championship, should Jokanovic indeed go on to land the midfielder this summer while also retaining the services of Berge, Sheffield United fans would surely be buzzing.
Indeed, the £3.15m-rated 30-year-old impressed over his 22 Championship appearances on loan at Swansea City last season, scoring five goals, registering two assists and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as taking 1.1 shots and making 0.9 key passes per game.
These returns saw the man Darren Bent dubbed a “brilliant” player earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.02, ranking him as Steve Cooper’s sixth-best performer in the league as he played a key role in helping the Swans secure a top six finish and subsequently reaching the play-off final.
Meanwhile, although Berge missed a great deal of last season due to injury, if the 23-year-old can replicate his form from 2019/20 next time out, he will undoubtedly play a crucial role in the Blades potential push for promotion.
Indeed the £16.2m-rated man scored one goal, provided one assist and created one big chance over his 14 Premier League appearances the season before last, in addition to averaging 0.7 interceptions and 1.6 tackles and winning 5.5 duels per game.
As such, the thought of £30k-per-week Hourihane partnering Berge in the middle of Sheffield United’s midfield next season is likely to be a mouthwatering prospect for fans of the club, with the pair very much appearing to have the potential to inspire the Blades back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.