Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has made his fifth signing of he summer today as defender Richard Stearman joined the club from Fulham for an undisclosed fee.
The Blades are looking to build a competitive squad ahead of their first season since returning to the Championship after a six-year absence of being stuck in League One.
A statement of intent from the Blades
There will be many people are who are impressed that United have managed to get this deal over the line. Due to Stearman's experience, there is likely to have been many other Championship clubs who may have been interested in securing his services this summer.
The 29-year-old joins the likes of Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas and George Baldock who have already made the switch to Bramall Lane from Chesterfield, Hartlepool United and MK Dons respectively. All of these players look like being useful additions to Wilder's squad ahead of the upcoming campaign and the Blades may just surprise a few.
The experienced defender has played for Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Fulham during his career so far and has racked up 389 appearances during this time. For a newly promoted club, being able to capture a player of Stearman's calibre is a real coup.
He began his career at Leicester as he broke through the youth academy in 2004. He went on to make 116 appearances for the club and was seen as a real bright prospect by many. He left the club following their relegation to League One and decided to join Wolves on a four-year deal. He had a very successful spell at Molineux overall as he made 211 appearances but eventually fell out of favour.
This was the start of what has been a very unsettling period for the defender. Fulham managed to secure Stearman's services in 2015 after Wolves accepted a bid of around £2 million. He went on to make 29 appearances at Craven Cottage. However, he was rarely selected by boss Slaviša Jokanović at the start of last season and opted to return to Wolves on a season-long loan. Despite this, he still only made 18 appearances last season.
Wilder delighted to land 'number one' target
Blades manager Chris Wilder has expressed his delight at landing one of his top targets for this summer. He told Sheffield United's official site: "Richard was our number one target throughout the summer and I'm delighted he has signed. We've been on the look out for a central defender who has played extensively in the Championship and who possesses the qualities and characteristics to fit in with our group."
Wilder believes that Stearman will contribute to the success of the club both on and off the pitch in the upcoming campaign. He said: "Richard will undoubtedly strengthen us, he's a calm influence in the dressing room and every manager who I have spoken to about him says he has outstanding leadership qualities and will offer 100 per cent commitment, on and off the pitch."
He then added: "He had other opportunities to pursue, but I am delighted we have managed to tempt him to Bramall Lane."