Sheffield United: Boss tells the board to sign Algeria international

Slavisa Jokanovic is petitioning Sheffield United’s board of directors to offer Adlene Guedioura a contract, as the Algeria international edges closer to completing his move to Bramall Lane.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 5:15 pm

Guedioura, who has spent the past three weeks training with the Championship club, is a free agent after leaving Al-Gharafa earlier this summer and could feature against Peterborough this weekend if a deal is agreed in time.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Darren Ferguson’s side, Jokanovic revealed he was personally responsible for inviting the 35-year-old to South Yorkshire when a proposed move for Ronaldo Vieira collapsed last month amid concerns about the Sampdoria youngster’s fitness.

After failing to sign any new players before the start of the new season, United captured Ben Davies, Conor Hourihane, Morgan Gibbs-White and Robin Olsen on loan before the recent transfer deadline.

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Algeria's midfielder Adlene Guedioura celebrates after winning the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Algeria and Guinea at the 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital Cairo on July 7, 2019. (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED / AFP) (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

Although he confirmed he was “involved” and endorsed those loans - with owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his advisor Jan van Winckel keen to adopt a more consensual approach towards recruitment than has been employed previously - it was significant to hear Jokanovic stress that Guedioura is his own personal choice to fill the vacancy which exists at the base of United’s midfield.

“Adlene has completed three weeks with us and he is a player I know and have coached,” Jokanovic told The Star, referencing his work with Guedioura in Qatar. “We brought him here because we had a situation with Ronaldo. He is a free transfer player and I believe he will soon be our player.

“What he can bring to us is plenty. He is a guy who is really positive in the dressing room. He knows different teams and he is an African champion right now. He wants opportunities to play games and I think it will be an important step for us if Adlene finishes this job.”

Guedioura, who helped his country lift the African Cup of Nations trophy two years ago, linked-up with Jokanovic in Doha after also playing under him at Watford during their promotion winning season in 2015. Capped 63 times by The Desert Foxes, he has also represented teams including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest since turning professional with Sedan.

Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“That is my expectation, that Adlene will join us soon,” Jokanovic continued. “And I am in favour, on my side, of bringing him in and giving it the green light.”

Although Hourihane and Gibbs-White are both expected to feature against Peterborough, United will take a late decision on Olsen’s involvement given his late return from international duty with Sweden.

Davies is also a doubt after being diagnosed with a minor foot problem following United’s draw with Luton Town last month.

“I can be satisfied with bringing new bodies into the building,” said Jokanovic, whose team is still searching for its first league win of the campaign. “You can do more or less and now I need to be focused on different things. We are not talking about promotion. We are talking about step by step and improving - every challenge in front of us.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Adlene Guedioura of Watford (L) holds back Steve Morison of Millwall (R) during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Millwall and Watford at The Den on January 29, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

“These are Sheffield United signings,” he added. “I was involved. Bringing new bodies into the building, there are some young and some experienced players. From my point of view, the refresh was necessary.”