The Serb is prepared to use the loan market this summer to reshape a squad relegated from the Premier League last season, as the loss of top-flight football and the subsequent drop in income prepares to be felt at Bramall Lane.
But scouring the top-flight for young talent is not necessarily such a bad thing. Swansea utilised that approach to good effect last season, reaching the play-off final with Chelsea’s Marc Guéhi in their backline, while both Norwich and Watford borrowed from top-flight clubs on their way to sealing automatic promotion.
Here are eight top-flight youngsters the Blades could turn to ahead of the new Championship season, which begins early next month at home to Birmingham…
1. Rhys Williams (Liverpool)
The youngster had a breakthrough season at Anfield amid Liverpool’s defensive injury crisis, but is now way down the pecking order and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another loan spell after a previous temporary switch to Kidderminster
2. Ryan Sessegnon (Spurs)
Granted, not a centre-half but what a signing that would be, especially if Slavisa Jokanović can get the youngster firing like he did when they worked together at Fulham. Spent last season on loan in Germany with Hoffenheim and is behind Sergio Reguilón and Ben Davies at Spurs
Photo: Daniel Kopatsch
3. Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea)
A player who spent last season on loan at Bramall Lane. He got stronger as the season went on, but will he have done enough to encourage a Premier League side to loan him? If not, his options may be overseas or the Championship. Valuable versatility and knows the Blades set-up already
Photo: Ryan Pierse
4. Trevoh Chalobah (Chelsea)
Another Chelsea man who can play in defence or midfield, Chalobah has completed previous loan spells at Huddersfield and Ipswich and spent last season at Lorient. An England U21 international, his brother Nathaniel is at Watford
Photo: PATRICK HERTZOG