Sheffield United have a deal in place to sign former Liverpool man

Sheffield United have a deal in place to sign Basel left-winger Liam Millar, according to BBC Radio Sheffield’s Adam Oxley. The 24-year-old Canadian international player will reportedly join the Blades as soon as Canada’s Copa America campaign is over.

The attacker has been on the radar for United for a while. Burnley were also said to be interested in him.

Millar, a product of the Liverpool academy, is currently under contract with Swiss club Basel, but last season he was plying his trade in the Championship with Preston North End. The 24 capped international featured 35 times in the league for Preston last season where he registered five goals and five assists. 

Although Sheffield United have predominantly played a 5-3-2 formation under Chris Wilder, United’s chief did switch things up early in his second tenure by deploying a 4-3-3 system. In this setup, Cameron Archer featured as an inverted wide man on the left of a front three. This system and role would perfectly suit Millar if United were to sign him, as his skills and playing style align well with the demands of the position. Additionally, he has the ability to play as an attacking midfielder.

The Blades have been linked with another inverted left-winger this summer in the form of Rangers attacker Tom Lawrence. Lawrence played 32 games for Rangers last season across all competitions. The versatile winger scored three times and assisted three during the 2023/24 campaign.

Is it a sign that Chris Wilder will be looking to play a formation that consists of wide players next season? 

Preston North End director Peter Ridsdale recently gave an interview to the Lancashire Evening Post where he spoke about Liam Millar. “Liam has been very honest with us, saying he loves the club and will come back tomorrow, but wants to play left wing. And we have said we love him and want him back tomorrow, but we want him to play left wing-back…What we are not going to do is change the formation just to suit one particular player, so it’s a dilemma and it’s a challenge. It is one we will solve, but it is probably the hardest position to fill.”

What could Liam Millar bring to Sheffield United?

Due to Millar playing as a left-wingback for Preston last season his statistics on FBref rank his percentile rankings compared to Championship full-backs and wing-backs rather than his natural left-winger position. 

The Canadian international is a very big attacking threat; he ranks in the 95th percentile for non-penalty xG and 99th percentile for total shots per 90. He also demonstrated his creativity levels across the campaign by ranking in the 87th percentile for assists, 71st for key passes and 88th for shot-creating actions. 

Millar has plenty of energy and pace to his game and this is shown in his dribbling metrics. He ranks in the 99th percentile for progressive carries, 99th for carries into the penalty area, and he has excellent abilities in one-versus-one’s. He ranks in the 99th percentile for successful take-ons. 

These numbers are very positive because it shows clear signs of what he’s about, and his numbers match up to the eye test. He will drive the team forward and commit defenders, and will often make the right decision in regards to setting up teammates or taking the strike on for himself. Millar was restricted last term due to him playing as a wing-back, if United want to maximise his potential they will be wise to play him as a number ten or wide on the left.

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