Over the past few weeks, several rumours have begun to circulate regarding the future of Chesterfield’s, Ched Evans. Evans, who was wrongfully convicted of rape in 2012, could be set for a sensational return to his old club Sheffield United, if local reports are to be believed.
Many regard this potential return as an extremely surprising move and one that has seemingly come from out of nowhere- the player brings baggage that’s undeniable, he’s almost 29 years old and after somewhat of a rocky season with Chesterfield, he seems to be past his best. I can certainly understand the move if he was to enter the fray as a squad player- maybe a 3rd or even 4th choice striker, but with Billy Sharp (31) and Leon Clarke (32) on the books, Ched Evans might not be the wisest player to gamble on at the moment. It’s worth noting that many United fans are regarding this talk as pure fiction with many (and myself included) questioning the motives behind such a move when the Blades themselves are flying high.
On the pitch, Sheffield United have been nothing short of fantastic since September- they’ve looked like a real unit under Chris Wilder and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by the press. The signing of Evans could put all of that at risk and the dark cloud could re-emerge over the club- the dark cloud they’ve been trying to rid themselves of since their relegation from the Championship some seasons ago. Many could argue, and rightfully so, that Evans is innocent in the eyes of the law therefore deserves another shot with the Blades, but the world doesn’t work like that and that doesn’t rid him of the fact that he is a controversial figure and one that will be targeted by many opposition supporters on a weekly basis. It’s not just the opinion of the people external to the club you have to take into consideration either- many sponsors or potential sponsors could back away from their agreements with the club once the signing goes through.
The consensus among the United fanbase seems to be that if Evans was available on a free transfer it would be a shrewd and wise move on behalf of the club, but if there is a rather substantial transfer free involved, it could best to steer clear and look at other younger alternatives. There is however another argument, being that in today’s day and age, clubs must spend several millions of pounds to even consider pushing for the play-offs, as emphasised by United’s close rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Therefore, the figures quoted (500k) for a 3rd or 4th choice striker doesn’t sound too bad on the grand scale of things.
Something that caught my eye while reading up on the Ched Evans return rumours was a rather interesting theory that many believe is behind this apparent link. Some believe a move for Evans would have to be down to the fact that the United board of Directors promised Evans a deal behind closed doors many months ago and consequently this is more or less out of Wilder’s hands, or that Evans was actually signed during the time in which he trained with the club (after his release from prison) and sent to Chesterfield for a season to gain fitness, bed himself back into football and ultimately let the sage settle down. It’s most certainly logical and hopefully we find out more very soon.
It’s also worth noting, and ending the article on, that Chris Wilder, whether he would be the one spearheading Evans’ return or not, should be trusted massively when it comes to his own decision making and getting the best out of the Welshman if he did re-sign for the club. Wilder has installed belief back into the club and taken Sheffield United back to where they belong in league football- hopefully achieving even more with them in the future. Whether that journey is with Ched Evans or not remains to be seen.