Sheffield United closing in on promising ex Premier League player

Sheffield United are closing in on their second signing of the summer transfer window with a deal for former Norwich City left-back Sam McCallum on the verge of being completed before the Blades’ first pre-season game, against York City on Saturday afternoon.

According to Alan Nixon, McCallum met with the Blades last week for talks, and for a medical, and now both sides of the transfer have been settled, this comes after yesterday’s update provided by The Star regarding the former Canaries player.

Sheffield United set to announce Sam McCallum

McCallum is a versatile defender who can play as a left-back in a traditional back four or as a left-wingback in a five-man defence. His eagerness to surge forward down the left flank is a prominent feature of his game, showcasing a strong attacking work rate that often places him in promising positions. Despite this, McCallum’s contributions in terms of goals and assists have been modest throughout his tenure at Norwich City. Last season, he scored just one goal in 27 league appearances and did not register any assists. This raises the question: Is it his end product that’s the issue?

The 23-yeae-old’s eagerness to advance into the attacking third is reflected in his statistics. He ranked in the 75th percentile for touches in the opposition penalty area among Championship full-backs last term, indicating his frequent presence in advanced positions.

However, his ranking in the bottom 10% for actual assists contrasts sharply with his expected assists (xA) figure, where he stands in the 76th percentile. This discrepancy suggests that while McCallum is creating opportunities, his teammates have not been converting them into goals.

McCallum has faced criticism from Norwich fans for his defensive work rate. Many have voiced their concerns regarding his “soft” approach to defending. There are several instances where he is in a one versus one situation and he decides to keep backing off into the penalty area – this is something he must eradicate out of his game. McCallum ranks in the 50th percentile for tackles.

Where McCallum truly shines is in his ability to intercept and clear the ball. He ranks in the 99th percentile for interceptions and 97th for clearances, showcasing his knack for disrupting opposition play and relieving pressure from his teammates. Additionally, McCallum’s aerial prowess is notable; he ranks in the 99th percentile for aerial duels won. This particular skill set addresses a critical weakness observed in Sheffield United’s defenders last season, who struggled in aerial battles; they averaged a 46% aerial win rate per game.

A new look to left-back next season

McCallum would be a very good back-up option for a player such as Harrison Burrows, who reportedly has agreed a contract with Sheffield United, it is now about the Blades pushing the button to complete the move.

Additionally, Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson has told the Posh’s official club media team that: “The reality is clubs like ours will lose players if we don’t get promoted. I expected to lose Ronnie (Edwards) and there has been a lot of interest in Harrison. I doubt he will still be here. If he is then that’s great, but it’s not likely,” as as per the Sheffield Star.

Tags Harrison Burrows Sam McCallum Transfers

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