Ched Evans: Sheffield United set to re-sign striker from Chesterfield

Ched Evans
Ched Evans signed a 12-month contract extension with Chesterfield in January

League One champions Sheffield United are set to re-sign striker Ched Evans from Chesterfield.

BBC Radio Sheffield reports the clubs have agreed a fee of about £500,000.

Evans, 28, last played for the Blades in 2012 before he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison.

That conviction was quashed and, following a re-trial last October, Evans was found not guilty.

Wales international Evans joined Chesterfield last summer and has scored seven goals in 29 appearances for the relegated League One side this season.

He scored 42 goals in 103 league appearances in his first spell at Bramall Lane.

Evans at Bramall Lane

Evans joined Sheffield United from Manchester City for £3m in 2009, but struggled in his first two seasons with the club, scoring only 13 goals in 74 games.

His form improved dramatically in his final season with the Blades, as he found the net 35 times in 42 appearances, before being jailed six days after his final game - a 3-1 win over Leyton Orient.

After his release in October 2014, having served two and a half years of his prison sentence, the Blades revoked an initial offer to allow him to use their training facilities after 170,000 people signed an online petition against the move.

United's main shirt sponsor threatened to end their association with the club if they re-signed Evans, three club patrons resigned, while Olympic heptathlon champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill wanted her name removed from a stand named after her if the striker was offered a contract.

He then nearly joined League One side Oldham Athletic in January 2015 before the club pulled out of the deal following threats to their staff and pressure from sponsors.

Chesterfield offered him a return to professional football in June 2016, two months after his conviction was quashed, saying "a great deal of thought" had gone into the signing.

Evans scored in his first professional game in over four years with the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Oxford on the opening day of this season in August.

He scored six more times before the turn of the year, but has failed to score in his past 11 appearances and has not featured since 4 March.


BBC Radio Sheffield sport reporter Rob Staton:

The Blades clearly believe they can get the best out of Ched Evans. He played his best football at Bramall Lane and Chris Wilder is known for his man-management skills.

Fans will be torn on this one. Some will back the signing and remember the days, albeit five years ago, that Evans was a prolific goalscorer. Others will see it as an unnecessary distraction.

United have already won the League One title and this story will now dominate the headlines before their coronation as champions on Sunday.

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