Sheffield United agree £18.5m fee for Archer as Aston Villa prepare for £25m defender bids

Joe Williams
Aston Villa forward Cameron Archer
Cameron Archer grimaces after missing a penalty kick in a pre-season friendly.

Newly-promoted Sheffield United have agreed a deal to sign Aston Villa forward Cameron Archer for £18.5m, according to widespread reports.

The Blades desperately need attacking reinforcements with Paul Heckingbottom having to make do with a forward line of Benie Traore and Will Osula for their first two matches back in the Premier League.

Osula spent some of last season at League One side Derby County, while 20-year-old Traore is untested in England after his summer move from the Swedish top tier.

Senior forwards Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster are currently out injured, while the Yorkshire club sold Iliman Ndiaye to Marseille earlier in the summer, and the news about Archer will come as a huge boost to United supporters.

Yorkshire Live reporter Nathan Hemmingham was the first to report that a deal had been ‘agreed’ between the clubs with the Aston Villa forward being ‘given permission to discuss a move’ with the Blades.

Hemmingham insists that the ‘first part of a medical is set to take place today. However, a deal is unlikely to be concluded today’.

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Sheffield United host Manchester City on Sunday with the Blades ‘hoping the deal will be completed in time for him to feature against the champions’.

The Athletic journalist David Ornstein also revealed that Archer is ‘scheduled to undergo a medical on Wednesday’ ahead of a move but he insisted that the clubs are only ‘close to reaching an agreement’.

If the deal goes through, Ornstein claims that Sheffield United are ‘expected to pay fee of £18.5m’ with Aston Villa ‘retaining a buy-back option’ on the England Under-21 international.

Archer, who played five minutes at the end of Aston Villa’s victory over Everton at the weekend, impressed on loan at Middlesbrough in the Championship last season, providing 11 goals and six assists in 22 Championship matches.

Speaking previously about Archer, Aston Villa boss Unai Emery said: “With Cameron, he was playing in pre-season and we were thinking he could have the possibility to go and continue improving and increasing his level at another club.

“But as a player, we want to keep him under control because we believe in him. Sometimes the plan we have to do is to try to keep him but taking time, confidence and minutes at another club.”

And there are rumours that Lucas Digne, who Villa bought from Everton for £25m in January 2022, is the subject of interest from French side Nice.

French newspaper L’Equipe insist that the Ligue 1 side are hoping to sign either Digne or Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri before the transfer window closes on September 1.