Burnley cut Berge loose from the Blades
They were promoted with us as runners-up last season and Sheffield United have had to play second fiddle to us again with Burnley moving in and signing their Norwegian international midfielder Sander Berge on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £15 million.
Capped on 36 occasions by his country, Berge joined Sheffield United in January 2020, part way through the Premier League season that saw them finish in ninth place, above us on goal difference, for a club record fee of £22 million. He made his debut in a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace and scored his one goal for them during the season in a 3-1 win at home against Spurs, just three days before he played at Burnley in a behind closed doors 1-1 draw.
Sheffield United had signed him from KRC Genk for a club record fee; he’d been with the Belgian club for two and a half years having previously played in Norway for both Asker and Våleranga for whom he was playing when he made his full international bow in a European qualifier against Northern Ireland in March 2017, coming on as a substitute for then Fulham midfielder Stefan Johansen and coming up against Oliver Norwood with whom he’s played alongside at Sheffield United.
That 1-1 draw at the Turf was the first time he’d played against the Clarets and he went on to add two more appearances against us and like the first, both at the Turf. He lined up for Sheffield United in the League Cup tie at Burnley in September 2020 but injury ruled him out of both league games against us that season. Last season he played in our 2-0 home win on Easter Monday.
On signing for Sheffield United back three and a half years ago, he said of himself: “My biggest strength is probably driving with the ball, not necessarily being the most creative but more like taking off pressure and eliminating people, carrying it forward and getting in advanced positions. Then suddenly when I’m there I feel like I bring back what I had when I was much younger, playing as a striker. It’s nice to be out there finishing off attacks and being in the last third. I’ve always been very open to it.”
He’s since been highly rated at Bramall Lane but had just a year remaining on his contract. That has given Burnley the opportunity to step in and bring him to Turf Moor.
Aged 25, he celebrates his birthday on 14th February, Valentine’s Day. He was born on Martin Dobson’s fiftieth birthday. If he becomes half the player Dobbo was for Burnley, he’ll have done more than well for us.
He said having completed the move: “I have heard a lot of good things about the Club and seeing the success from outside last season, there’s a great project building here. It’s a great environment full of young talented players from all around the world, so I just think it’s the perfect fit for me. The club has high ambitions, making several signings and it all just fits into what I’m looking for.”
Sheffield United’s CEO Stephen Bettis, in confirming Berge’s departure from Bramall Lane, added: “We did not want to lose Sander, particularly this close to the start of the Premier League season, but after the player expressed a strong interest to leave, we spoke to Burnley to get the best possible deal for Sheffield United. Since his arrival at the club, Sander has been a popular member of the squad and it was hoped he would once again shine at Bramall Lane in the Premier League. Unfortunately, along with his representatives, he has opted to move to Burnley and we would like to place on record our thanks for his service over the past three and a half years.”
Although players such as David Edgar, Stephen Jordan, Danny Lafferty, Matt Lowton, Kevin McDonald, Keith Treacy, David Unsworth and Sam Vokes have all played for both clubs since, Berge will become the first player to transfer directly from Sheffield United to Burnley since Ade Akinbiyi returned in January 2007.
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