Sheffield United Season Preview: The Blades are back in the big time and are aiming to stay
(Photo: Getty Images/Alex Dodd)

After gaining automatic promotion from the Championship, Premier League football has finally returned to Bramall Lane as Sheffield United are back in the top flight of English football for the first time in 13 seasons.

However, the Blades will have to put last season's achievements behind and concentrate on what could prove to be a tough first term back in the top flight.

Transfer Business

After being backed as the bookie's favourite to go down, Chris Wilder has done all he can in the market to prove them wrong after an impressive transfer window has seen the Blades break their transfer record four times.

First through the door at Bramall Lane was midfielder, Luke Freeman from Queens Park Rangers for a club record, undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old is set to add some much-needed versatility into Wilder's midfield after proving to be a key, all-round central midfielder at his former club.

Freeman was no stranger to both assisting and scoring goals last term after scoring nine goals and getting eight assists in 48 games for the Hoops.

The next record-breaker to make the move to South Yorkshire was another Championship scalp in the name of Callum Robinson who joined from Preston North End for a reported £7 million.

The striker adds a new life of pace to the Blades' front line, and after finding the net 13 times in 28 appearances for his former club last season there is no doubt Wilder will be hoping for the same this term.

Another record signing and striker came soon after as Lys Mousset joined the Premier League new boys from AFC Bournemouth for £10 million.

The french man struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League with his old club, but after impressing on international duty for France U21's with five goals in eight games it's clear to see that there is a prolific striker in there.

The Blades' fourth and final record-breaker is the latest edition to Wilder's squad after they brought in Oli McBurnie from Swansea City for £17 million. The Scottish international can play both as a striker and out wide, and after netting 22 league goals last season he could prove to be a pivotal part of the Blades' attempt to beat the drop come next May.

Other notable incomings include veteran, Phil Jagielka who returns for his second spell after leaving the club in 2007. Last season's fan favourite, Dean Henderson also returned for a second loan spell from Manchester United to again fill the all-important goalkeeper role, whilst former United man, Ravel Morrison has also put pen to paper with the Yorkshire club as he looks to get his name back into the English game.

Ben Osborn has also joined the Bramall Lane ranks, after joining from Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee.

Where the season can be won and lost

After 12 years away from the top flight, there is no doubt that the Blades will be hoping to stay for a little longer than their last one season visit to the Premier League, with survival being the key for Wilder's men.

One key department that will be important in the Yorkshire club's survival battle is the goals department. 

Last season's rock bottom finishers, Huddersfield Town found the net just 22 times and averaging just nearly one goal every other game led to the Terriers' downfall into the Championship. 

This, however, is something that hasn't gone unnoticed from Wilder after bringing in three frontmen in McBurnie, Robinson and Mousset to add goal-scoring prowess to his side. As a result, add that to the already prolific Billy Sharp and goals shouldn't be a problem for the top-flight newbies.

One to Watch

Oli McBurnie

Talking of goals one man who is no stranger to finding the net is new record signing, McBurnie who proved to be a goal machine in the Championship last season after netting 22 times for his former club, Swansea.

This impressive record is more than deserving of a big-money move to the big time, and there is no doubt the Scot will take the goals to South Yorkshire and indeed into the Premier League.

The 24-year-old can also offer variety to his new boss as, as well as being an expert in leading the line he can also drift out wide to play on either wing.

This is something that could be of great use to Wilder later on in the season when his squad pick up injuries and begins to thin out.


Ravel Morrison 

Once tipped to be the next big thing in the English game, Morrison has somewhat struggled to live up to his early standards and has drifted away from the heights he was once predicted to reach.

However, now he is back in the top flight of English football, Morrison will be 'Ravelling' to stamp his presence back on the Premier League and prove he's not a forgotten footballer of the past.

Predicted Finish: 16th