Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic reveals his start date at Bramall Lane
Slavisa Jokanovic is set to officially start work at Sheffield United on July 1st The Star can confirm, exactly five weeks after being unveiled as their new manager.
The Serb, whose appointment was confirmed towards the end of last month, has told officials in South Yorkshire he will arrive at Bramall Lane within 24 hours of his departure from Al-Gharafa - the Qatari club he has worked for since 2019.
Jokanovic agreed to fulfil his contract in Doha before signing a three year contract with United, following discussions with their Saudi Arabian owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The gesture not only made it possible for United to immediately confirm he would be replacing Chris Wilder at the helm - removing the clouds of uncertainty caretaker Paul Heckingbottom admitted were starting to gather over the squad - but also meant they did not have to negotiate a severance package with their counterparts in the Middle East.
With the European Championships currently taking place and United not scheduled to begin fitness training until the end of the month, Jokanovic’s absence has not disrupted their preparations for the new campaign. Indeed, the former Yugoslavia and Chelsea midfielder’s friends and confidants actually believe it could prove beneficial - allowing him to properly assess the options he will inherit from Chris Wilder without any distractions.
After being relegated from the Premier League last term, United hope Jokanovic can lead them back into the top-flight at the first attempt having previously won promotions with both Watford and Fulham.
He also guided Al-Gharafa into the qualification rounds of the AFC Champions League before revealing he would be returning to England.
John Fleck and Rhys Norrington-Davies, currently on international duty with Scotland and Wales respectively, could be granted an extended leave of absence following their involvement at the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament, which was postponed last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The same goes for Aaron Ramsdale, who has been summoned into the England squad following an injury to Dean Henderson.
Jokanovic is aware of Fleck’s qualities but is expected to run the rule over Norrington-Davies when he reports back to the Steelphalt Academy. Despite being capped by his country at senior level, the youngster has yet to play a first team game for United.