Tottenham Hotspur could be looking to bolster Jose Mourinho’s midfield armoury, if recent reports are to be believed.
According to French outlet Jeunesfooteux, Spurs are considering a summer swoop for Sheffield United powerhouse Sander Berge, with the Blades staring down the barrel of a likely relegation.
The 23-year-old became their club-record signing for around £22m when joining Bramall Lane in January 2020, and could now be available for just €26m (£22.5m).
Berge, when fit, has been one of the only shining lights for the struggling Sheffield giants this season and he possesses all the attributes to potentially become an ideal partner for the impressive Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a formidable duo that could become Spurs’ best since that of Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.
Indeed, the Danish summer arrival has remained a constant in Mourinho’s starting XI having played from the off in all 28 league fixtures, but he’s been joined by a plethora of names throughout the campaign, ranging from Moussa Sissoko and Tanguy Ndombele to Harry Winks.
Neither offer the best skillset to be a true box-to-box option alongside the more defensively-minded Hojbjerg.
In terms of his ability in Spurs’ own third, Berge is impressive off the ball having averaged 1.6 tackles (2019/20) and 1.2 tackles (2020/21) per game, via WhoScored, since swapping Genk for the Blades.
Both returns see him well-placed amongst the current Spurs squad – by comparison, his 1.4 average across both seasons matches Ndombele (1.4), and eclipses that of Sissoko (one) and Winks (0.8). It’s even more central defender Eric Dier (0.8).
This shows that he’s prepared to put in the hard graft to win the ball back for his side, which should please Mourinho as his other options in the role aren’t doing that to the same standard.
Whilst in the attack, Berge likes to roam forward – averaging 1.5 dribbles, 0.9 key passes and 0.8 shots per game this term alone.
It means the Norwiegen is only behind Harry Kane and Heung-min Son for creativity, managing to make more chances than supposed no.10s Giovani Lo Celso (0.8 key passes) and Ndombele (0.5), whilst he’s accrued more dribbles than the aforementioned duo – perhaps a surprise given Son’s ability on that left flank.
Spurs know too well about his presence in the final third as he fired United into the lead back in their embarrassing 3-1 defeat in July 2020.
Berge’s box-to-box capabilities were summed up by his recently-departed boss, Chris Wilder, who told VG: “I just have to say it: Sander has been unique. He is the one who has stood out for us. He is a complete midfielder. He can play as an 8 and as 6. He can play in different formations.”
On the above evidence, the midfield monster – valued at £35m by CIES Football Observatory – would be a fine addition to Mourinho’s squad.
Imagine him alongside Hojbjerg, with an Ndombele, Lo Celso or Dele Alli having the freedom to operate as they like further up the pitch.
Daniel Levy could seal a formidable engine room for the future by swooping for the 6 foot 5 Blades sensation.
AND in other news, Mourinho could find his own Van Dijk in £13.5m-rated “role model”…