Sheffield United complete Rhian Brewster signing from Liverpool for record fee
Manager Chris Wilder was keen to add pace to his forward line this summer, and signed Oliver Burke from West Bromwich Albion before the season started, and now he has been able to add what he described as a “natural goalscorer”, signing 20-year-old Brewster on a five-year contract.
"At the top of the pitch we have one of the country's hottest properties from Liverpool and for him to sign permanently here is fantastic for everyone concerned,” said Wilder. “There has been a lot of interest in him over the summer, a lot of speculation about who we were going for, but he has been our number one target and I am delighted to have secured his services.
"If you look at the signings we have made throughout the summer, it bodes well for the future of the football club. He's a talent, as are a lot of the younger players we have brought in, whether that's Oli Burke, Max Lowe, Jayden Bogle or Aaron Ramsdale, they are the profiles of the players we wanted to bring in during the summer, and we're delighted we have done it.
"He (Brewster) is a natural goalscorer. He finishes from any aspect, whether it is in the air or whether it's spectacular goals, free-kicks or off his shin - he has a lovely habit of scoring goals, which is crucial in the Premier League."
The need for a goalscorer has been clear in the opening weeks of the season, when the Blades have only scored once, and that in the League Cup. They are yet to pick up a point in three Premier League matches, although Wilder insists with some justification that performances have been better than that would suggest.
Brewster spent the second half of last season on loan at Swansea City, scoring ten goals in 20 Championship appearances.
The news that centre-back Jack O'Connell could be out for six months after knee surgery could have threatened their plans but the Bramall Lane board have backed Wilder to press ahead with a transfer fellow suitors Crystal Palace were reluctant to make.
As the summer progressed and the deal changed from a loan to a permanent move, the Eagles were put off by Liverpool's insistence that they insert a “buy-back” clause in the deal. The Blades, though, are understood to have agreed to it.
Brewster is the seventh signing of the summer for Sheffield United, who broke their record transfer fee four times last summer, and again in January when they signed Sander Berge from Genk for £22m.
The fee for the 20-year-old is undisclosed but thought to be around £23.5m. Chief executive Stephen Bettis revealed it takes the clubs net transfer spending since winning promotion to the Premier League last summer to around £120m.
Reserving the option to buy the player back shows the belief Liverpool have in him, although with such a talented forward line, it did not translate into senior football. Brewster has not featured since playing in the Community Shield, his fourth appearance for the Reds.
Brewster joined Liverpool in 2015 after seven years in Chelsea's youth system.
The Blades are still in the market for a replacement for O'Connell, having enquired about Huddersfield Town's Terence Kongolo, amongst others.
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