Sheffield United confident target would chose them over Sunderland AFC

Sheffield United are confident that Dion Sanderson will choose them over Sunderland if Slavisa Jokanovic, who officially takes charge at Bramall Lane next month, approves a move for the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ centre-half.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 5:00 pm

Although no official talks between United and their counterparts in the Midlands have yet taken place, a negotiator granted permission to act on the South Yorkshire club’s behalf is in contact with senior figures at Molineux regarding their plans for the 21-year-old.

Sanderson was the subject of a £1m bid from the Stadium of Light this week, having spent last season on loan with Lee Johnson’s side. That was immediately rejected by Wolves, who are thought to value the defender at more than double that amount.

With Sunderland expected to increase their bid over the weekend, United are being encouraged to submit one of their own after compiling a detailed dossier on Sanderson. Paul Mitchell, their head of recruitment, first identified the youngster as a person of interest around two seasons ago but began seriously monitoring his progress when Nuno Espirito Santo, the former Wolves manager, sanctioned his move to the North-East.

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Dion Sanderson: FRANK REID
Dion Sanderson: FRANK REID

Staff at the Sir Jack Hayward training complex rate Sanderson highly. But with Bruno Lage already making his presence felt after replacing Nuno at the helm, they accept he is unlikely to feature regularly at Premier League level next term.

Sanderson is known to have settled in the North-East, and will consider a permanent switch there if United fail to follow up their interest. However, with Jokanovic giving his seal of approval to many of the targets Mitchell has identified, Sanderson’s representative is reluctant to make any firm commitments about his client’s future until later in the window. By that time, Jokanovic will have personally vetted almost every member of the squad he will inherit on July 1st.

Aaron Ramsdale, John Fleck and Rhys Norrington-Davies are set to be granted an extended period of absence after being called-up by their countries for the European Championships. But Jokanovic has already resolved to strengthen United’s rearguard following Phil Jagielka’s departure at the end of last season and concerns about Jack O’Connell’s availability.