Sheffield United in need of more attacking firepower as Tom Lawrence joins Rangers

MISSED TARGET: Tom Lawrence has reportedly told Sheffield United he will not be joining themMISSED TARGET: Tom Lawrence has reportedly told Sheffield United he will not be joining them
MISSED TARGET: Tom Lawrence has reportedly told Sheffield United he will not be joining them
Sheffield United have suffered a blow in their search of attacking reinforcements after Tom Lawrence joined Rangers.

The talented forward was released by Derby County in the summer following their relegation to League One.

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The Blades were confident of signing the 28-year-old, who had a loan spell at Rotherham United in 2014, despite interest from Watford amongst others.

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But ultimately they believe they were unable to compete with the financial package Rangers were able to offer. The lure of European football is also thought to have worked in their favour.

The Gers are in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

Having been overloaded with centre-forwards last summer, the Blades are starting to look light at the top end of the pitch. Manager Paul Heckingbottom generally likes to play with three attacking players.

David McGoldrick has joined Derby after being released at the end of his contract, and Oli Burke has moved to Werder Bremen for an undisclosed fee. Lys Mousset's contract was not renewed.

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Morgan Gibbs-White was their player of last season largely operating in the hole, although by the run-in he was being used as an emergency centre-forward as injuries hit. But the England Under-21 international was only on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers and his performances were of such high quality, a return to the Championship seems highly unlikely.

Iliman Ndiaye also went from No 10 to No 9 as the season reached a conclusion and is an exciting prospect.

Sander Berge played in the hole at times (and deeper in midfield at others) but the Blades would be receptive to selling their second biggest Premier League signing if they can get a good offer.

Billy Sharp remains the club's most reliable goalscorer and captain, but at 36-years-old they have to plan for life after him.

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Heckingbottom is a fan of Oli McBurnie having signed him for Barnsley but the Scotland international's only goal last season came in the League Cup in September, and like team-mate Rhian Brewster he has been charged for their part in events after the Championship play-off semi-final second leg at Nottingham Forest, where Sharp was assaulted by a fan.

Brewster hinted he might be coming out of a difficult start to life as a Blade when he scored his first league goal for the club in November and followed it up with two more in the next five matches, only to suffer a season-ending injury.

Daniel Jebbison was part of England's Under-19s European Championship squad in the summer and despite handing him a goalscoring Premier League debut as caretaker manager in 2021, Heckingbottom is reluctant to ask too much too soon of him. Fellow 18-year-old Will Osula leapfrogged him in the pecking order.

Lawrence would have been a more natural replacement for Gibbs-White than an out-and-out centre-forward but the Blades will need to continue looking for both.

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Leeds United's Tyler Roberts had been linked with the club, but has since joined Queens Park Rangers on a season-long loan.

The Blades made their first signings of the window this week in on-loan Manchester City midfielder Tommy Doyle and Bosnian centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic.

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