By Alex Fisher
Last Updated: 22nd July 2019
After 12 seasons away, Sheffield United are back in the Premier League and have Blades fan Chris Wilder at the helm. That will not be enough to keep them up, though.
Wilder has lifted the club from League One to the top-flight in three years at Bramall Lane, but he now faces his biggest challenge.
He is bound to rely heavily on the hard-working squad that has climbed the divisions, with a sprinkling of Premier League experience.
Phil Jagielka has already been added following his release from Everton, and more will be needed, particularly in attack.
Do the Blades lack a cutting edge?
Wilder has a plethora of forwards at his disposal heading into the season but only three of them have ever experienced top-flight football before – and only one has scored a Premier League goal.
Ched Evans netted for Man City over a decade ago as he made his breakthrough, while new signing Callum Robinson had 46 minutes over four appearances in 2013/14 for Aston Villa.
Billy Sharp is the only other forward to have played in the Premier League, although his experience is just 18 minutes during a frustrating spell with Southampton.
They have all plundered goals at lower levels, however stepping up has proved hard for a lot of Championship strikers in the past, so Wilder may need to bring in someone with pedigree.
Someone who fits that bill is Andy Carroll, and United lead the betting at 9/2 to sign the England international.
Southampton’s Charlie Austin has also been mooted, the Blades again head the market at 4/7 and he could be a much more reliable option than the injury-prone Carroll.
And then comes the issue of a goalkeeper. Last season, the Blades loaned Dean Henderson from Manchester United and he was a huge success.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a return to Sheffield to gain more experience, although a deal has yet to be agreed – leaving United with Simon Moore (who didn’t play a single minute in their promotion campaign) as their only recognised keeper.
Ravel not Ribéry
United were audaciously linked with Bayern Münich superstar Franck Ribéry following his release from the Germany champions. However, those rumours have gone cold.
One player Blades fans will be seeing in red and white is Ravel Morrison. The former Manchester United trainee has signed a one-year deal as he looks to resurrect his career in England after spells in Italy, Mexico and Sweden.