Sheffield United take the first step towards reshaping their squad

Sheffield United have held a number of recruitment meetings ahead of Slavisa Jokanovic’s arrival at Bramall Lane, with the Serb understood to have discussed potential transfer targets with the club’s hierarchy via Zoom.
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Jokanovic is scheduled to officially take charge of United on July 1, 24 hours after his contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa expires.

Although he is not planning to make any immediate changes to their squad, preferring to analyse the options he is set to inherit in the flesh before entering the transfer market, Jokanovic is believed to have identified several players he would be interested in bringing to South Yorkshire during a series of private discussions with members of United’s hierarchy.

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Paul Mitchell, their chief talent spotter, owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Jan van Winckel, United’s de facto director of football, are also thought to have been involved.

With midfielder Sander Berge known to interest Arsenal - and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale also said to be attracting admiring glances from the Emirates Stadium - the subject of how to receive the highest price possible for those set to depart featured on the agenda, although the goalkeeper has made it plain he wants to remain in South Yorkshire despite United’s relegation from the Premier League.

But replacing Berge and John Lundstram, who has rejected their offer of a new deal, was the most pressing item.

Oliver Norwood, who worked with Jokanovic at Fulham when the west Londoners were promoted from the Championship, has been reassured of his importance but a vacancy still exists for an attacking midfielder. Tom Cairney, another member of the team Jokanovic led into the top-flight, has inevitably been linked with a move north. United will not force the issue, however, believing the situation will naturally work itself out when Scott Parker’s future at Craven Cottage is resolved.

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Stoke City’s Joe Allen has also been offered to United, after being told he can leave the bet365 Stadium as officials there look to cut costs following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Together with United’s Rhys Norrington-Davies, Allen is currently representing Wales at the European Championships. Ramsdale and John Fleck are also on duty with England and Scotland respectively.