After two seasons in the Championship, Sheffield United are back in England's top flight after clinching second spot behind Burnley in last year's campaign.
Manager Paul Heckingbottom managed to turn the club around after arriving in November of 2021, reaching the Playoffs in his first season, and then achieving automatic promotion in his second.
There's been plenty of movement around the squad on their return to the Premier League. With last year's star man Iliman Ndiaye leaving Bramall Lane along with centre-midfielder Sander Berge it was vital that Heckingbottom brought in replacements if they are to have a fighting chance of survival.
Here are the confirmed transfer ins and outs at Sheffield United are as follows.
- 1 Sheffield United signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
- 2 Sheffield United transfer departures
Sheffield United signings: Summer 2023 arrivals
At the time of writing, Sheffield United have made seven incoming signings at a modest average fee of £5.2m per player as they look to spend wisely.
Gustavo Hamer – Coventry City
The Brazilan-born midfielder is the biggest outlay made by the Blades this summer for approximately £15m after a successful stint at Coventry City. Hamer was raised in the Netherlands and came through Feyenoord's youth system before arriving in England in 2020.
The 26-year-old midfielder made over 100 appearances in the Championship and was close to taking the Sky Blues to the promised land, scoring at Wembley in the Playoff Final only to lose out on penalties to Luton Town.
His English football experience will be a key factor as he gets his first taste of Premier League football this season.
Our man is in the building. 🏡
Gustavo Hamer. Blade. ✨ pic.twitter.com/DndOwKzv2a
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) August 11, 2023
Vini Souza – Lommel SK
Another Brazilian midfielder now on the Blades' books is Vini Souza who joins Lommel SK in Belgium but played all of last season in La Liga, making 34 appearances for Espanyol on loan.
The 6ft 2in Carioca was part of the Flamengo side that sensationally won the 2019 Copa Libertadores scoring twice in the final minutes of the match. While in South America he won six titles in a hugely successful start to his career.
Now in South Yorkshire he is expected to become an important part of the midfield following the departure of Sander Berge.
Auston Trusty – Arsenal
The 24 year old central defender is a promising player who was signed by Arsenal from MLS franchise Colorado Rapids in 2022 but spent last season on loan at Birmingham. He was a reliable fixture in the Blues backline making 48 appearances in all competitions under John Eustace.
The Pennsylvania native performed so well that he was named Player of the Season and even earned his first senior international cap, playing for USMNT against Grenada in March 2023. Being left-footed he can form a good partnership with fellow young defender Anel Ahmedhodžić.
Bénie Traoré – Häcken
A young Ivorian striker who joins from the reigning Allsvenskan champions having hit a purple patch with the Wasps in 2023. Traoré suffered a leg fracture that kept him out for most of 2022 before returning for the start of the new Swedish season in April 2023.
Six goals in his first five games allayed any fears that the long injury layoff had affected him and now the diminutive forward gets a chance at Bramall Lane.
Anis Slimane – Brøndby IF
Another African arrival from Scandinavia is Tunisian international Anis Ben Slimane who trades in the Danish Superliga for the English top division after four season with Brøndby. The midfielder made over 100 appearances for the Copenhagen based club and won one league title back in 2021.
With World Cup and Europa League experience, Slimane is no strange to the demands of top level football and will relish the challenge. He really could be a bargain buy with a low release clause meaning he has cost less than £2m.
Tom Davies – Everton
Liverpudlian Tom Davies has left his boyhood club after 14 years having joined the academy when he was just 11. He moves across the Pennines on a free transfer having played just half of Everton's league games last season.
Once hot property, an England regular from U16s to U21s and voted Everton younger player of the season in 2016/17 the midfielder is looking to reignite his career here.
Yasser Larouci – Troyes
The left-back joins on loan following Troyes relegation to Ligue 2, marking a return to English football, where he previously played for Liverpool at youth level. Larouci was part of the side that won the 2019 FA Youth Cup alongside players like Neco Williams.
At just 22 years old, there is plenty of potential for Larouci to develop, this season he is likely to play understudy to Max Lowe.
Cameron Archer – Aston Villa
Cameron Archer made his debut in the 2019 Carabao Cup, scoring his first goal, and hat-trick against Barrow in the same cup in 2021. Archer spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough, scoring 11 times in 20 appearances. With an injury to Brewster, Sheffield United were desperate for striking reinforcements, and turning to a an inexperienced youngster could be a risk. Considering Sheffield's “see how it goes” approach to their first Premier League season, it's exactly the type of signing that might work out.
Luke Thomas – Leicester
Having been relegated with Leicester last season, Luke Thomas has decided to go on loan to Sheffield United. The 22-year-old has made 85 appearances for the Foxes since his debut in 2020, and even picked up an FA Cup medal in the 2021 win. Initially, on loan, it's unknown if Thomas will look to stay, or remain at Leicester if they get promoted back to the Premier League.
Sheffield United transfer departures
Billy Sharp – LA Galaxy
A beloved son of the Steel City and a bona fide legend in the red-and-white half of Sheffield, Billy Sharp has finally departed his boyhood club after a total of 12 years at Bramall Lane over three separate spells. In that time, King Billy, as he has become affectionately known by parts of the fanbase, has scored 129 goals in 377 appearances.
Much of that goal return has come in the Championship, which seems fitting for a man who holds the record as the division's highest-ever goalscorer. Sharp also notched six goals for the club in his sole season in the Premier League with the Blades, the most memorable of which may well have been his first – a dramatic late equaliser against Bournemouth that earned the club a point in their first game upon returning to the top tier.
Sharp though had a knack for important strikes – the equaliser in the reverse fixture against Bournemouth, a similar late strike to earn a point against Fulham, and the only goal in wins over Norwich City and Newcastle United.
Sharp won promotion on three occasions with the Blades, and his departing statement was full of emotion, reflecting on his odyssey with the club, stating that “my boyhood dream became a reality and what a journey I was lucky to have–from a young fan on the Kop to ballboy, then player and captain–wearing the famous No. 10 has been a privilege and an honour.”
After interest from a number of Championship sides was said to be under consideration, Sharp has followed in the footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he signed for LA Galaxy on a free transfer.
Iliman Ndiaye – Marseille
The star man in the promotion push has departed for his native France to play not only in Ligue 1 but also European football with the club to feature in the Europa League. The Senegal international netted 14 times in the Championship and was voted Player of the Year by both fans and teammates alike.
Ndiaye will be remembered for plenty of contributions, such as his cracking solo effort after coming in off the bench against Tottenham in the FA Cup fifth round to send the Blades into the Quarter Finals. His reported transfer fee of £20m makes him the most expensive departure in this summer window.
Sander Berge – Burnley
The Norwegian defensive midfielder has made the switch to Lancashire as he joins Burnely after almost four seasons in South Yorkshire. Having joined from Belgian side Genk in January 2020 for a then club record £22m the Scandinavian slotted in perfectly to Chris Wilder's system and was a key player in the run in.
His involvement the following season was limited due to a “freak” hamstring injury that required surgery and kept him out for three months, arguably his absence contributed to United's relegation.
Berge will certainly be missed, especially as he joins what will likely be a rival for survival in Burnely – no doubt current manager Vincent Kompany remembers his new signing from the time they played against each other in the 2019/20 season while the former Man City man was at Anderlecht.
Enda Stevens – Stoke City
Enda Stevens' career in England only truly exploded when he signed for Sheffield United in 2017. Originally brought over from the League of Ireland by Aston Villa, the Irishman managed only a few appearances in the East Midlands before a few loan spells and a permanent move to Portsmouth.
At Pompey and down in League Two, Stevens was given the opportunity to thrive, helping Portsmouth to a play-off berth in his first season and then being named in the division's Team of the Season in his second.
Sheffield United saw a player with the potential to push far beyond his current level, and brought him up two divisions to the Championship, where he became a key cog on the left for Chris Wilder as the club won promotion to the Premier League in 2019.
That form carried up to England's top flight, where Stevens kicked on again, making 62 appearances for the Blades in the Premier League and got himself on the scoresheet twice, as well as being the club's top assist provider in that first season back at the highest level.
Back in the Championship, and no longer under the Wilder system, Stevens' influence and hold of the left-back spot waned, with some serious injuries keeping him out of the side, and allowing Max Lowe to make the spot his own. Now 33 years old, Stevens' contract was allowed to expire, but Stoke City were quick to snap him up – he will hope an injury free campaign next time out will allow him to thrive with the Potters.
Jack O'Connell – Released
There was a point where Jack O'Connell was being seriously considered for an England call-up, after his displays for Sheffield United in the Premier League, where his overlapping runs from centre-back became a serious weapon for Wilder's Blades side that confounded their doubters early on.
He was already a firm favourite with the United faithful at that point – his ability on the ball as he progressed up the left-hand side of the pitch was unquestionable, and O'Connell was the man who scored the opening goal against Ipswich Town in the game that confirmed the Blades' promotion back to the top flight for the first time in 13 years.
But serious injury has put paid to so much of the potential that O'Connell showed as he grew up with the club as they moved through the divisions to the top flight. It began with a knee issue suffered in training in 2020, something that he had to have serious surgery on and cruelly ruled the man affectionately known as ‘Piston' out for the season after just two games.
But it would get worse – a setback after the first operation meant that O'Connell had to go under the knife yet again, and although there have been several signs of some progress, the last time he set foot on a football pitch in a senior game remains before the injury, all the way back in September 2020.
There has been some good news recently, as in an interview with the Sheffield Star, O'Connell stated that “I’m just happy I can run and I’m playing football again. So there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel and we’ll see what happens next season.”
His presence in the dressing room sparked an outpouring of emotion from both fellow players and fans on social media, but wherever it is, there will be plenty of people who would just be delighted to see O'Connell back on a football pitch next season.
Jake Eastwood – Grimsby Town
Another product of the Sheffield United academy system, Eastwood has been a senior player at the club since 2016, but only made three first team appearances in that time – one in the Championship and another two in the Carabao Cup.
He's spent the majority of that time on a loan rollercoaster, turning out for clubs ranging from Sheffield FC in the Northern Premier League Division One East to Portsmouth of League One, as well as two jaunts north of the border to represent Kilmarnock and Ross County in Scotland's top-flight.
Eastwood will now return to Grimsby Town, the place where he spent the first half of 2021, on a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee.