Revealed: The truth behind Sheffield United's links with Slavisa Jokanovic as manager search continues
Slavisa Jokanovic has not approached Sheffield United about their managerial vacancy, while officials at Bramall Lane distance themselves from suggestions the Serb is the number one choice to replace Chris Wilder.
Although Jokanovic is expected to be flattered by the excitement reports linking him with the position is creating among supporters, The Star understands the former Watford and Fulham head coach has not instructed members of his inner circle to either invite United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to open talks or let it be known he would be interested in doing so.
That is both out of respect for his present employers, Al-Gharafa of Qatar, and also United as they press ahead with the process of trying to identify Wilder’s long-term successor after placing Paul Heckingbottom in caretaker charge.
During his spells at Vicarage Road and Craven Cottage, where he won promotion from the Championship on both occasions, Jokanovic developed a reputation for not only playing an attractive brand of football but also stricting adhering to the protocols of his profession.
United, who are believed to have received a number of intriguing applications since announcing Wilder’s departure, will spend the international break considering some of the options which have presented themselves over the past fortnight.
Determined to consider every serious CV they receive on merit, Prince Abdullah and his advisors drew-up an initial short list of potential candidates before Wilder’s exit was confirmed nearly a fortnight ago.
Sources within the game suggest that is likely to be expanded as fresh lines of inquiry emerge.
No move for Jokanovic, either officially or otherwise, has been made. However, that could change if it is decided the 52-year-old possesses the credentials required to succeed Wilder, who led United from the third to the first tier of English football after being appointed in May 2016.
Despite finishing ninth in the Premier League last term, United now find themselves 14 points adrift of safety with only nine matches remaining following a miserable season in South Yorkshire.
Although they would prefer to make an appointment as quickly as possible, the board are happy for Heckingbottom to continue in post after being impressed by his work so far.