Manchester City in the hunt for Sheffield United’s Sander Berge

Cameron Smith
Manchester City in the hunt for Sheffield United’s Sander Berge

With Fernandinho nearly 36, Manchester City are looking for his replacement in the squad having already signed Rodri as his replacement in the starting XI; the man they have reportedly turned to is Sheffield United and Norway midfielder Sander Berge.

Berge only joined Sheff Utd in January 2020, signing from Genk in a club-record £20.5 million deal.

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However, his impressive performances, and Sheff Utd’s imminent relegation to the Championship, have sparked rumours that the Norwegian midfielder will move away this summer.

Several Champions League clubs have reported interest, but according to Voetbal, Pep Guardiola is a big fan of Berge, and Manchester City are ahead of their rivals in a bid for his signature.

Genk reportedly included a 20% sell-on clause in Berge’s contract at Sheff Utd which means that the club currently 20th in the Premier League will demand a higher transfer fee to compensate for that. However, Berge will be keen on a move away if the club do slip into the second tier, and Manchester could well be the destination.

The midfielder has been out of action for three months with a hamstring injury, which could complicate things, but Sheff Utd are hopeful of a return against Arsenal on April 11.

Would Berge fit in at Man City?

The question isn’t if Berge is good enough to be a rotation option at Man City, like Fernandinho currently is, but rather whether he would fit in.

Berge is primarily a box-to-box No.8, opposed to a traditional defensive midfielder, and he doesn’t offer the same protection as either Rodri or Fernandinho.

This season he is making 1.6 tackles and interceptions per 90, which is a pittance in comparison to Rodri’s 3.5 and Fernandinho’s 4.0.

Furthermore, he completes 1.8 dribbles per 90 compared to the 0.8 completed by Rodri and the 0.6 completed by Fernandinho.

Whilst he possesses a similar pass accuracy to the aforementioned two, 87%, it’s clear that Berge is not a No.6, and hence wouldn’t really fit Guardiola’s system; a move to the blue side of Manchester seems unlikely.