Sheffield United hope to steal a march on Championship rivals by exploiting their new boss' Premier League contacts

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Sheffield United have held exploratory talks with a number of Premier League clubs as Slavisa Jokanovic looks to cherry-pick some of their most promising young players ahead of the new Championship season.

As The Star reported earlier this month, United are set to focus their attention on the loan market during this summer’s transfer window although Bramall Lane’s hierarchy have also made finding available for a select number of permanent deals.

With the rescheduled European Championships meaning most top-flight managers are not yet in a position to properly assess their squads, United accept it could be another week until real progress is made.

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But in an attempt to steal a march on their rivals, Jokanovic and his associates are understood to have already approached contacts at top-flight sides to outline United’s wants and needs.

Despite only officially taking charge on July 1, three months after his new employers surrendered their PL status, Jokanovic is known to have begun the process of identifying potential targets before returning to England.

The Serb, who has previously won promotion with both Watford and Fulham, is known to retain strong links with Chelsea having spent two years at Stamford Bridge towards the end of his own playing career.

Midfield and centre-half are known to be two of United’s priority positions, with Sander Berge facing an uncertain future and Kean Bryan expected to follow Phil Jagielka through the exit door.

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Dion Sanderson the Wolverhampton Wanderers defender, had been monitored by United’s recruitment department but is destined for Birmingham City instead. Lee Bowyer’s side visit South Yorkshire on the opening weekend of the new campaign.