Sheffield United re-sign former Norwich City loan striker Ched Evans
- Credit: PA
Sheffield United have re-signed former Norwich City loan striker Ched Evans from Chesterfield on a three-year deal.
Evans was released by United in the summer of 2012 after he was found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman and sentenced to five years in prison.
That conviction was quashed and at a retrial last year, Evans was found not guilty.
The Blades have just been promoted as champions of League One so the former Wales international, who scored 10 goals in 28 games whilst on loan at Norwich from Manchester City in 2007-08, could make a return to Carrow Road in the Championship next season.
Evans said: 'I am delighted to be back. I still feel I have plenty to prove in football both at club and international level and I believe I can achieve those goals at United, playing in front of the terrific fans whose support I have always appreciated.
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'I am very grateful to Chesterfield, the board and football management for giving me an opportunity to return to the game. It is just disappointing that it has come in season which has seen the club suffer relegation. I would like to thank the Chesterfield fans who made me feel so welcome.'
The 28-year-old scored seven goals in 29 appearances this season but wasn't able to stop Chesterfield finishing bottom of League One.
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The Blades had considered re-signing Evans previously but a huge public debate erupted, with 150,000 people signing a petition asking the club not to go through the deal and Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill asking for her name to be removed from one of the stands at Bramall Lane if the move went ahead.
Fellow celebrity supporters, including TV presenter Charlie Webster and former pop star Dave Berry resigned as patrons after Evans was offered the chance to train with the club, an offer which was revoked.
That has not prevented United going through with the deal now though, re-signing a striker who scored 42 goals in 103 appearances for them previously.
United manager Chris Wilder, speaking to his club's website, added: 'The signing is just one element of the plans we have drawn-up for next season. We have done our homework on the player. We pride ourselves on team spirit – as the fans have seen this season – and plan to bring in players who can be part of that.
'Ched comes to us with targets to achieve along the way. With a full pre-season with us we believe he can provide us with options up front and score goals.'