Sheffield United has announced the breaking of its club record transfer fee to sign Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge from KRC Genk.
The capture is considered a coup for the Blades after Berge had been adamant on only signing for a Champions League club. However, after nothing materialized over the summer for Berge in that market, Sheffield United was able to convince the 21-year-old of the move.
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“I have gained a lot of experience playing in the Belgian league and the Norwegian national team but to come here to the best league in the world to play for such a strong side in Sheffield United this season, hopefully we’ll do even better now,” Berge told the official club release. “It’s been only one club for me and this is perfect.”
The BBC reports that the signing is for a total fee of $28.8 million, beating the previous club record of $26 million for summer signing Oli McBurnie. The interview with Berge seemed to confirm that the club had interest in him over the summer, and now completes the move. The club also confirmed that owner Prince Abdullah took a “personal interest” in the completion of the deal.
Velkommen, Sander ✍️ pic.twitter.com/rz1HZl09Pm
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) January 30, 2020
“When we sat down with Sander it was clear that he was really excited about coming here and that was great to see,” said manager Chris Wilder in the official release. “I think this signing just shows how far we have come in a short space of time, that we are now attracting the likes of Sander to the football club. It’s a brilliant signing for us.”
Berge joined Genk in January of 2017 from Norwegian club Valerenga and has made 113 appearances for the Belgian side, including six in Champions League play and another 16 in the Europa League. He is a do-it-all midfielder who can tackle, dribble, and pass at an exceptional rate.
He has 20 international caps for Norway, earning a consistent starting role throughout Euro 2020 qualification. He scored his first international goal in a qualifying appearance against Malta back in September and assisted the winner against Malta in the reverse fixture in November.
Sheffield United is a scary opponent for all Premier League clubs, sitting eighth in the league table and are pushing Wolves, Spurs, and Manchester United for a European place. As a slight longshot, they still remain in the mix for a top four spot, sitting seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.