Ronaldo Vieira: Sheffield United talks with Serie A midfielder set to continue as return to action looms
Talks aimed at delivering Sampdoria’s Ronaldo Vieira to Sheffield United on loan are understood to be continuing, as the Championship club prepares for its first competitive match under new manager Slavisa Jokanovic.
Vieira, the former Leeds midfielder, has been sounded-out about the possibility of a return to England after struggling for opportunities since moving to Italy three years ago.
After spending last season with Hellas Verona, officials in Genoa are happy to place the youngster with United next term after he was identified by Bramall Lane’s recruitment department as a potential signing.
Despite ruling out a wholesale makeover, Jokanovic admitted he wanted to “refresh” the squad he inherited having taken charge on July 1st.
Ben Davies, the Liverpool centre-half, is also thought to interest United after failing to make the breakthrough at Anfield following a January move from Preston North End.
Davies, who was also wanted by Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder, is unlikely to force his way into Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the forthcoming Premier League campaign. However, Liverpool would prefer to broker a permanent rather than temporary deal for the defender.
United need to increase their numbers at the back after allowing Phil Jagielka to depart at the end of his contract, while Kean Bryan appears destined for new pastures after his deal also expired.
Vieira, aged 23, started his professional career at Elland Road after progressing through Leeds’ youth system. It was there that he worked under Paul Heckingbottom, United’s under-23’s coach, who served as their caretaker manager following Chris Wilder’s departure in March.
United play their first match since being relegated from the Premier League when Birmingham City visit South Yorkshire on Saturday night.
Jack O’Connell, whose absence last season was a major factor behind their slide out of the top-flight, remains unavailable for selection after undergoing another round of surgery on his injured knee.
But the Liverpudlian posted a “back soon” message on one of his social media accounts, in a bid to allay fears he is also set to miss the forthcoming campaign.
O’Connell, aged 27, excelled during United’s two promotions under Wilder and was being touted for an England call-up when he finally succumbed to what it later emerged was a long-standing issue.