Sheffield United: Blades look to strengthen their overseas relationships
Femi Seriki will not be the only Sheffield United youngster invited to complete a loan move to Beerschot next season, as officials at Bramall Lane look to strengthen the relationship between the two clubs.
As The Star revealed last week, Seriki is poised to leave Bramall Lane on a temporary basis as Slavisa Jokanovic and his coaching staff attempt to accelerate his footballing education.
The Olympisch Stadion appears to be the 19-year-old’s most likely destination, where Jokanovic’s employers boast strong links after Peter Maes’ side were also brought under the United World banner.
UW, an umbrella organisation which also includes teams in France, Dubai and India, was established by United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to help develop talent and exploit various commercial opportunities.
Ismaila Coulibaly, a Malian midfielder, has spent the past 11 months in Belgium after being signed by United from Sarpsborg 08 last summer while fellow midfielder George Broadbent finished the 2020/21 Jupiler Pro League campaign in Antwerp before returning to England.
Seriki, who made his senior debut for United at Newcastle in May, has been offered the chance to follow exactly the same path.
However, with Rhys Norrington-Davies also being asked to consider a switch to Beerschot before Jokanovic’s appointment, it seems United’s hierarchy are preparing to make more use of the global network Prince Abdullah and Abdullah Alghamdi, UW’s chief executive, have established.
Norrington-Davies turned down the chance to head to Europe, preferring instead to remain in South Yorkshire and challenge for a first team role after representing Wales at the recent European Championships.
However, the opportunity to enjoy regular first team competition under Maes will prove a more attractive proposition for many of those players expected to be on the periphery of Jokanovic’s matchday squads as he attempts to lead United back into the Premier League.
Seriki joined United’s development programme in September 2019, after his previous club Bury were forced to leave the English Football League following a series of financial issues.
He signed his first professional contract within 48 hours making coming on as a second-half substitute during United’s defeat at St James’ Park.