Sheffield United: Former boss could thwart Blades hopes of luring star midfielder north if Slavisa Jokanovic approves an approach

Fulham’s interest in appointing Chris Wilder as their next manager could dash any hope Sheffield United have of signing Tom Cairney, sources close to the west London club believe.

By James Shield
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 3:00 pm

Wilder is expected to be invited for talks about replacing Scott Parker at Craven Cottage later this week, nearly four months after he left Bramall Lane following a series of policy disagreements.

Slavisa Jokanovic Wilder’s replacement in South Yorkshire, worked closely with Cairney during a successful spell in charge at Craven Cottage and would have been interested in joining forces with the midfielder again.

However, with Wilder also regarded as a promotion specialist, several people with knowledge of Fulham’s internal politics believe Cairney is likely to remain in the capital if the 53-year-old is unveiled as Parker’s successor. The former Emgland international is poised to make the switch to AFC Bournemouth after reportedly growing disillusioned with owner Shahid Khan’s plans for an overhaul of the squad following last term’s relegation from the Premier League.

Former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

United, who were also demonted from the top-flight, had hoped to use the uncertainty at Fulham to drive down their £10m valuation of Cairney if Jokanovic approved a move for the Scotland international.

Despite being broadly satisfied with the options at his disposal, the Serb must bolster United’s options in the middle of the park after being informed Sander Berge is almost certain to follow John Lundstram through the exit door before August’s return to competitive action.

Although no contact has been made between United and Fulham about Cairney’s future, Parker’s former employers are aware of the mutual respect which exists between him and Jokanovic.

Khan began drawing up a shortlist of names earlier this month, when it became clear that Parker was destined to depart.

After a proposed move to West Bromwich Albion failed to materialise, Khan is known to have been encouraged to place Wilder at the top by several members of his inner circle who believe his track record in South Yorkshire would make him a popular appointment.

United had just finished mid-table in League One when he first arrived in May 2016, coming ninth in the PL only four years later.