Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League last season by finishing to second in the Championship behind champions Norwich City. The new season will see the Blades return to the Premier League for the first time since season 2006/07.
The man behind the promotion is highly-rated Yorkshire lad Chris Wilder, who will be living the dream of managing his boyhood team in the Premier League next season.
Chris Wilder is a shrewd tactician
Sheffield United head into the new campaign as the favourites to suffer relegation next season. However, one of the main weapons in their armoury is Wilder himself, who was rated as one of the top coaches outside the Premier League last season.
Wilder had reportedly been offered a number of other roles in the past. He stuck with United and with him in the dugout, the Blades will always have a chance of avoiding a quick return to the second tier.
Busy strengthening their squad
As you would expect, Sheffield United have been busy strengthening their squad. The players arriving at the club have been a mixed bag. The likes of Luke Freeman, Ben Osborn, Jack O’Connell and Callum Robinson have all impressed in the lower leagues, while the Blades also re-signed goalkeeper Dean Henderson from Manchester United on loan for the whole of next season.
Then there is the Premier League experience of veteran former Everton star Phil Jagielka. The centre-back started his career at United before enjoying a solid career on Merseyside with the Toffees.
The Blades have also given a Premier League lifeline to midfielder Ravel Morrison too. The 27-year-old has enjoyed a nomadic career since breaking into the Manchester United first-team as a prestigious youngster. The Yorkshire club also broke their club-record to bring in striker Lyn Mousset from Bournemouth.
The Blades have certainly been busy strengthening their squad. None of those signings stands out as outstanding, however. The signing of Morrison could be a coup or a disaster, while Jagielka could bring a wealth of top-flight experience to the Blades starting line-up. Everton used the former England international sparingly last season, but he still has plenty of life left in him.
The most important signing of the summer may be that of the aforementioned Henderson. The 22-year-old was outstanding last season for the Blades. His return will certainly be a big boost ahead of the new campaign.
A struggle to survive
Even with the steady hand of Wilder at the helm, it is difficult to see anything other than a fight for survival for the Blades next season. They have taken a sensible approach to recruitment by not spending beyond their means and picking up players where they can.
One factor that could be vital for the Yorkshire outfit is that they are patient with boss Wilder. He seems to have a lot of managerial talent, but his team could struggle in the early stages of the campaign, as it is a big step up from Championship to the Premier League.
Wilder deserves any success he gets with United and hopefully he can keep them up. If he does not, then they are sure to be in a strong position to win promotion the following season if they do suffer relegation.
Will Sheffield United struggle to maintain their top-flight status next season?