Sheffield United Digest: Jokanovic's message to wantaway stars; Latest on Arsenal, Aston Villa target; Blades confident over Sunderland-linked defender

Sheffield United’s players will report back for pre-season training before their manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, officially checks in at Bramall Lane – but the new manager will waste no time cracking the whip at Bramall Lane.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 6:00 am

The Blades boss has already planned talks with those members of his first-team squad being linked with moves away following United’s relegation last season, including Sander Berge, Aaron Ramsdale and Jayden Bogle, and will tell them that any lack of focus during pre-season will not be tolerated as he prepares to begin his reign at Bramall Lane.

Although Jokanovic has been careful not to breach the terms of his contract with Al-Gharafa, he has been in touch with members of his coaching staff already working at Shirecliffe and will receive twice-daily reports of his players in training until he can meet them in person.

Particular attention will be paid to how those attracting interest from elsewhere - including Berge and 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.

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Blades confident over Sunderland-linked Sanderson

Sheffield United are confident that Dion Sanderson will choose them over Sunderland if Slavisa Jokanovic approves a move for the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ centre-half.

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.

Sheffield United's Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge: PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Sheffield United's Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge: PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Blades must learn lessons of the past over Norwich-linked Bogle

As proud as Sheffield United should be at the fact that no other academy in the country has produced more players for England’s Euro 2020 squad, there will be an inevitable tinge of sadness and regret that only one member of Gareth Southgate’s squad currently wears the crossed swords on his chest when it comes to club football.

It is unrealistic to suggest that United could have held on to Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire or Dominic Calvert-Lewin once Premier League clubs came knocking, especially considering they were a League One football club when the latter two departed.

But it is more the total fees received for players who have commanded, or could command, a total of almost £200m that rankles with many.

And United would do well to heed the lesson of Walker when it comes to Jayden Bogle, the young former Derby County right-back who is on the radar of Premier League new-boys Norwich City if Max Aarons is sold this summer.

The big dilemmas facing the Blades

Sheffield United have been linked with plenty of new players during this summer’s transfer window.

But, as Slavisa Jokanovic prepares to take charge, some members of the squad he will inherit next month are being linked with moves away from South Yorkshire too following United’s relegation from the Premier League.

The Star’s James Shield gives his view on some of the proposed moves and whether or not they make financial and sporting sense.

Slav’s chat with Wilder bodes well for Blades

Football management being like a revolving door, you can’t enter one without seeing the person in the next compartment.

So the most important thing any new manager does before taking a job is speak to his predecessor.

A conversation certainly did take place between Slavisa Jokanovic and Chris Wilder - and well in advance of the former’s slightly protracted appointment by Sheffield United.

We can infer two things from this and both are healthy for the club despite the acrimonious nature of Wilder’s departure.

Blades fans split over loyalty points debate

Sheffield United fans have given the thumbs-up to the club’s overall ticketing policy at Bramall Lane – although the ever-controversial issue of loyalty points has reared its head once again.

Introduced when United were promoted to the Premier League in 2006 as a way of issuing tickets for high-demand away games, the loyalty points system has been debated ever since.

Blades to hand Berge’s would-be suitors an ultimatum

Sheffield United are ready to hand Arsenal and Napoli an ultimatum, telling them to meet their valuation of midfielder Sander Berge or forget about signing the Norway international.

If the message is relayed to officials in north London and Campania, it could prove to be a pivotal moment in the midfielder’s career - forcing his representatives to either begin agitating for a move away from South Yorkshire or accept their client could start the new campaign at Bramall Lane.