Sheffield United: Defender's silence speaks volumes about his future at Bramall Lane

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Sheffield United are working on the basis that Kean Bryan will not be returning to Bramall Lane next season, after new manager Slavisa Jokanovic admitted to being unaware if the centre-half had even responded to the club’s contract offer.

Bryan became a free agent when his previous deal expired at the end of June, although United did invite him to sign a new one before that happened.

Jokanovic insisted he “wasn’t even thinking about” Bryan during a recent interview with the media, because “he isn’t here with us.”

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The Serb has always taken the centre-half’s refusal to commit as an indication he would prefer to explore opportunities elsewhere. That view is now shared by those tasked with costing what will be a hugely important summer recruitment drive, as United attempt to regain Premier League status at the first attempt following last term’s relegation.

Although Jokanovic’s hardline approach to what, without referring to Bryan directly, he described as matters of “commitment” means his wish-list remains unaffected, it could have a bearing on the budget United devised before he took charge on July 1.

However, with Rhys Norrington-Davies expected to challenge for a starting role after returning from loan spells with Luton Town and Stoke City and Bramall Lane’s hierarchy known to have considered a number of different circumstances during their financial strategy meetings, it would be a major surprise if they had not factored in the possibly two new defenders might be required rather than one.

Bryan has been training on his own throughout pre-season, despite being linked withg West Bromwich Albion. No details have been provided about the terms of the deal United proposed.