Championship clubs to capitalise on the Sheffield United contract debacle

According to Alan Nixon, via The Sun, Derby County and Watford want to sign Ben Osborn, who’s future is up in the air at Sheffield United.

It was initially thought that the Blades would be activating a one-year extension written into Osborn’s contract, with Chris Wilder publicly stating he wanted the versatile midfielder to remain in the squad for next season. However, a report from Nixon later emerged that United have opted against triggering the contract extension, and The Star would thereafter state it was due to the proposed takeover from an American consortium.

We are more than two weeks on from this point and still the fan base are none the wiser, leading to increased speculation over the future of the likes of Ben Osborn, Oli McBurnie, John Egan, Daniel Jebbison and Adam Davies. As well as the future of the football club itself.

Since signing from Nottingham Forest in the 2019/20 season, Osborn has featured in 134 games for the Blades, playing across multiple positions, often even filling in at right-wingback and left-wingback.

Although he will never dazzle you with skill and individual brilliance, Osborn is a team player that clubs like to have in their squad in case of an injury crisis, particularly at Championship level.

In the season just gone, Osborn totaled 24 Premier League games and provided two assists in that time.

Ben Osborn has been forced to play on the left side of the defence due to Sheffield United’s lack of depth in that position.

My view

It does seem very confusing about Osborn’s future. One minute he is nailed on to stay. The next: the club are refusing to trigger extension because the proposed new owners want better than him. And now, it seems like reports are suggesting the Blades can only afford his wage if a takeover gets completed. Someone’s source has to be way off, surely. If all is true then other clubs such as Watford and Derby can jump in and steal the 29-year-old away from the Blades.

Derby County would certainly make sense for Osborn; the versatile midfielder is in fact a supporter of the Rams, despite playing for their bitter rivals Nottingham Forest over the course of half a decade.

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND – JULY 20: Lewis O’Brien of Nottingham Forest during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Nottingham Forest and Hertha Berlin at Pirelli Stadium on July 20, 2022 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Sheffield United need to rebuild their midfield

While uncertainty is growing over Osborn, Sheffield United are being linked with a number of central midfielders. Lewis O’Brien and Alan Browne are two players that have previously been mentioned, while a fresh report states the Blades are targeting former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steven Alzate.

The latter two are free agents, while Lewis O’Brien would require a transfer sum being paid to Forest, although the Reds will likely offer the 25-year-old at a discounted price with him being deemed surplus to requirements at the City Ground.

By the end of the summer window the Blades could well see Vinicius Souza and Ismaila Coulibaly sold, in addition to Oliver Norwood and Ben Osborn departing. It is vital the Blades add quality and durability to the midfield.

Tags Ben Osborn