Sheffield United confirm Slavisa Jokanovic is their new manager
Slavisa Jokanovic has agreed to become Sheffield United’s next manager, with the Serb set to officially take up the position when his contract with Qatari club Al Gharafa expires at the end of next month.
As The Star exclusively revealed, Jokanovic was approached by agents acting on behalf of United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud earlier this month amid reports he wanted to return to Europe following two seasons in the Middle East.
Having held what sources described at the time as being “productive talks”, Jokanovic and his representatives have spent the past 48 hours deep in negotiation after brokering an outline agreement soon after Sunday’s win over Burnley; which officially marked the end of United’s stay in the Premier League.
After initially considering Oostende head coach Alexander Blessin for the role Chris Wilder vacated in March, Prince Abdullah and Jan van Winckel, the Saudi Arabian’s sporting advisor, turned their attention to Jokanovic following a behind the scenes review of its challenges and demands.
Having won promotion from the Championship with Watford and Fulham, the former Yugoslavia and Chelsea midfielder boasts a proven track record of success in England’s second tier. Crucially, as United’s hierarchy look to re-energise a squad which caretaker Paul Heckingbottom recently admitted is low on confidence, Jokanovic also comes with a reputation for playing an attractive, attack-minded brand of football. That will also be welcomed by a fan base, many of whom are still upset by the circumstances surrounding Chris Wilder’s departure.
Aged 52, Jokanovic also represented Novi Sad, Tenerife and Deportivo Coruna as a player before carving out a successful career in the technical area. His first posting was at Partizan Stadium, where he won two Superliga titles and two Serbian cups before arriving at Vicarage Road following spells with Thai outfit Muangthong, Levski Sofia and Hercules of Spain.
After leading Watford into the Premier League six years ago, Jokanovic spent five months in charge of Maccabi Tel Aviv before being appointed by Fulham; where United midfielder Oliver Norwood was a member of the side which beat Aston Villa in the play-offs.
Jokanovic will make his first appearance in the United dug-out later this summer, when United begin their warm-up programme for the new season.