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Sheffield United want 31-year-old Burnley star this month – A solid addition to the midfield?

Burnley midfielder Jack Cork turned 31 last June.
Burnley midfielder Jack Cork turned 31 last June. (Getty Images)

Why Jack Cork would be a useful signing for Sheffield United

According to the Daily Mail, Sheffield United have Burnley midfielder Jack Cork on their shopping list in January as Chris Wilder bids to steer his side clear of relegation. 

The Blades are expected to seek defensive reinforcements during the mid-season trading period. The Yorkshire outfit also have Club Brugge striker Emmanuel Dennis on their shortlist after struggling for goals during the first half of the campaign. (h/t Daily Mail)

Cork is pretty much a household name in English football, having featured for the likes of Burnley, Southampton and Swansea City in the Premier League. The 31-year-old joined the Clarets in 2017 and has played his part in impressive 7th and 10th-place finishes for Sean Dyche’s side over the past three years. 

The veteran hasn’t featured at all this season as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury picked up in the summer. Cork, though, recently signed a contract extension at Turf Moor and is expected to return to action during the second half of the season. The England international has bagged 10 goals and 9 assists in 175 appearances for the Clarets in all competitions so far. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – JUNE 22: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City battles for possession with Jack Cork of Burnley during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley FC at Etihad Stadium on June 22, 2020, in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Sheffield United currently find themselves languishing rock-bottom of the standings after a nightmarish start first half of the season. The Blades have lost 15 out of their 17 league fixtures so far, accumulating just two points in the process.

With 21 games still left to play, United’s season is certainly not beyond repair. But it will surely take a herculean effort from Chris Wilder and company to avoid relegation to the Championship. 

Sheffield United boasted one of the best defensive records in the Premier League last season. Wilder’s side conceded just 39 goals en route to their 9th-place finish in the top-flight in 2019-20. However, they have been nowhere near as solid as they were last term, with the Blades already leaking 29 goals in 17 games. 

While Jack O’Connell’s injury has affected the stability of Sheffield United’s rearguard,  it’s worth pointing out that those in front of the backline haven’t done enough to stem the inflow of goals.

The likes of John Fleck, John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood and Ben Osborn have offered very little defensively, with Sander Berge the only bright spark in the midfield. The Blades should, therefore, look at a new defensive midfielder in the January window.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 29: Jack Cork of Burnley is challenged by Miguel Almiron of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley FC at St. James Park on February 29, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Putting things into context, Jack Cork fits the bill at Bramall Lane as a seasoned campaigner in the Premier League with more than 250 top-flight career appearances under his belt.

The former Chelsea prospect is widely acclaimed for his qualities as an out-and-out defensive midfielder. He would offer more protection to Sheffield United’s backline as the Blades prepare for a hectic second half of the season that could well decide their PL fortunes. 

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Verdict

With Jack Cork nearing full fitness, Sheffield United should not hesitate to take a punt on the England international this month. The midfielder recently signed a new deal with Burnley but that shouldn’t stop Wilder from testing Burnley’s resolve. Cork still has plenty to offer at 31 and could provide the spark that the Blades need so desperately to turn things around.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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