Sheffield United have had a bid accepted for Aston Villa’s Cameron Archer for a reported fee of £18m. The initial stage of a medical is reportedly scheduled for today, although it’s unlikely that the deal will be finalised today, according to Yorkshire Live.
The Blades have been heavily linked with the 21-year-old forward in recent weeks along with Chuba Akpom. However United stepped up their efforts for Archer after Akpom agreed to join Ajax.
Paul Heckingbottom made it clear to the board that he wanted a goalscorer this summer, and now it looks like his wish has been granted.
Archer scored 11 times in 20 appearances for Middlesbrough last season after making a loan switch in January. He also added six assists.
But what makes Archer so effective?
Cameron Archer is the ultimate finisher, what I mean by that is he can score any type of goal. Left foot, right foot, headers. He scores goals from inside the six-yard box and beyond. Last season, he recorded one of the highest goals per90 stat in the Championship [0.72]. But there is much more to his game from a technical and tactical aspect.
One of Archer’s best attributes is his awareness to see pockets of space which he can exploit. These spaces are often behind the midfield and in front of the defence. Hence why he saw a high amount of progressive passes received last season [6.91 per90]. Once he receives the ball in the pockets, he gets the ball out of his feet to open up his options.
One of his options is shooting from distance, but he rarely takes up that opportunity. In fact, he uses that as a chance to fake a shot, thus forcing a reaction out of the opposition defence, and then he can thread a pass into the space that he just created via his body feint, or he can carry the ball into that space himself.
Being a young forward sometimes brings a stigma that they aren’t composed or they don’t see the bigger picture, but that is far from the case with Archer. As mentioned above, his awareness and footballing IQ is very good.
His decision-making of what to do and when to do it – from when to release a ball, what type of technique to use, when to run at opponents, it always seems like he makes the right choice. You wouldn’t expect anything less from someone that recorded one of the highest assists per90 in the Championship last season [0.39].
The acquisition of Cameron Archer is a real statement of intent by the Blades. Not only do they have a player that is ready to play in the Premier League, but his ceiling is super high.
This signing has really transformed the side from a ‘threatening’ team into a ‘frightening’ team. United have plenty of fresh and dynamic players in the squad. Opposition will be wary of the pace that the Blades carry into a game, and they also have midfielders capable of picking those runners out.