Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic's no-nonsense message to those players being linked with moves away
Slavisa Jokanovic will tell those players being linked with moves away from Sheffield United that any lack of focus during pre-season training will not be tolerated, as he prepares to begin his reign at Bramall Lane.
The Serb is set to officially take charge on July 1st, over a month after his appointment was officially confirmed by United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud following a meeting in Geneva.
Although Jokanovic has been careful not to breach the terms of his contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa, which expires 24 hours before he is scheduled to arrive in South Yorkshire, contact has been established between Chris Wilder’s successor and members of the coaching staff already working at the Steelphalt Academy.
The former Yugoslavia and Chelsea midfielder has used those meetings to stress the quality of United’s work over the coming weeks will set the tone for a Championship campaign which is expected to see them challenge for promotion after being relegated from the Premier League last term.
Although he will miss their first few sessions, United’s squad will be told that Jokanovic is set to receive twice daily reports on their progress until meeting them in the flesh. Particular attention will be paid to how those attracting interest from elsewhere - including Sander Berge and Jayden Bogle - conduct themselves. Jokanovic has made it clear he expects the highest levels of professionalism and commitment from everyone, with those suspected of being distracted set to be removed from the main group.
One of the 52-year-old’s first tasks will be to hold talks with Berge, Bogle and youngster Regan Slater to discover if they see their futures with United or would prefer to secure transfers elsewhere. Berge has attracted admiring glances from Arsenal and Napoli, while Bogle is reportedly a target for Norwich City following their return to the PL.
Slater’s situation could take longer to resolve, with the youngster minded to remain with United if he is granted first team opportunities but wary about being left out in the cold. Hull City, where Slater spent last term on loan, are keen to acquire his services while Preston North End and Charlton Athletic are also keen.
City were told that Jokanovic will not approve Slater’s sale until he has had a chance to properly assess his attributes and qualities, particularly with Berge expected to follow John Lundstram through the exit door.
Aaron Ramsdale is also said to feature on Arsenal’s radar following his call-up by England for the European Championships. But the goalkeeper has stressed he is happy to remain at United and work under Jokanovic, who has previously led Fulham and Watford out of England's second tier.
Ramsdale is set to be granted an extended period of absence by United this summer, in order to ensure he is fully refreshed ahead of the 2021/22 fixture schedule.
Although United have no concerns about his physical condition, they do want Ramsdale to enjoy a mental rest following what has been a whirlwind 12 months.