Sheffield United Digest: Latest on Arsenal, Aston Villa target Sander Berge; Billy Sharp reveals his target; Wilder could thwart move for Fulham's Tom Cairney
Napoli are preparing to play hard-ball in their pursuit of Sander Berge this summer, in a bid to force Sheffield United into lowering their £35m asking price for the Norwegian midfielder.
With Arsenal also unwilling to meet United’s valuation of a player they signed for £22m a year-and-a-half ago. The Italians believe they are now in pole position to push through a deal before this summer’s deadline.
Although United want to sell Berge after being relegated from the Premier League last season - partly because of the player’s desire to compete in Europe again and also out of financial necessity - they remain adamant that anyone wanting to acquire the Norway international’s services must trigger the buy-out clause they inserted into the long-term contract he signed following his move from Genk in January 2020. READ FULL STORY HERE
Sharp wants to impress new boss and fire Blades back to Premier League
Billy Sharp, the Sheffield United skipper, has set his sights on impressing new manager Slavisa Jokanović in pre-season training after revealing he is approaching full fitness after going under the knife at the end of last season.
The striker missed the final stages of United’s relegation campaign after undergoing surgery to correct an injury he picked up in training.
Sharp was forced to watch from the sidelines as his boyhood club slid out of the Premier League, but reported for pre-season training earlier this week ahead of former Watford and Fulham chief Jokanović officially joining on July 1 when his contract in Qatar expires. READ FULL STORY HERE
Slav to be unveiled later this week
Slavisa Jokanovic will be officially unveiled as Sheffield United manager later this week, when he is presented to the media during a behind closed doors event at Bramall Lane.
The former Yugoslavia and Chelsea midfielder is scheduled to meet members of the media, including The Star, on Friday; 24 hours after his reign in South Yorkshire begins.
Despite being appointed as Chris Wilder’s successor last month, Jokanovic agreed to complete his contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa before taking charge. READ FULL STORY HERE
It’s coming home
England’s former Sheffield United defender Harry Maguire enjoyed helping the nation smile again by delivering the historic 2-0 win over Germany in the last 16 at Euro 2020.
Goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane in the final 15 minutes gave the Three Lions their first major tournament knockout victory over Germany since 1966, sending them through to the quarter-finals in front of 41,973 raucous fans at Wembley.
It was the biggest attendance for a football match in this country since the coronavirus pandemic struck 15 months ago, and Maguire said: “First and foremost to have the fans, that felt like a proper football match, the first time I have felt it in a long time, that was the atmosphere we were missing and the atmosphere football deserves.” READ FULL STORY HERE
Why Wilder could thwart Blades’ Cairney pursuit
Fulham’s interest in appointing Chris Wilder as their next manager could dash any hope Sheffield United have of signing Tom Cairney, sources close to the west London club believe.
Wilder is expected to be invited for talks about replacing Scott Parker at Craven Cottage later this week, nearly four months after he left Bramall Lane following a series of policy disagreements.
Slavisa Jokanovic Wilder’s replacement in South Yorkshire, worked closely with Cairney during a successful spell in charge at Craven Cottage and would have been interested in joining forces with the midfielder again.
However, with Wilder also regarded as a promotion specialist, several people with knowledge of Fulham’s internal politics believe Cairney is likely to remain in the capital if the 53-year-old is unveiled as Parker’s successor. READ FULL STORY HERE
Slav’s former No.2 could be heading back to England…
Javier Pereira, Slavisa Jokanovic’s former assistant at Watford and Fulham, has indicated he could be set for a return to England after being granted permission to live and work in the UK without being subject to immigration restrictions.
Pereira, who took charge of Chinese Super League side Henan Songshan last year, confirmed the news on one of his social media accounts.
Although the 55-year-old made no mention of his immediate future in Zhengzhou, where The Red Devils are based, he did confirm he would be looking to secure a position in England at some point. READ FULL STORY HERE
Bassett warns Blades over strength of Championship
After finishing ninth in the Premier League, in their first season back in the top flight in 12 years, Sheffield United surprised many observers by being relegated in their second. Amongst those who didn’t see it coming was their legendary former manager, Dave Bassett.
“No-one in their right senses thought that the season would pan out how it did,” Bassett, who led United to the top-flight during his time in charge at Bramall Lane, told The Star. READ FULL STORY HERE
Jags linked with a new club after Blades exit
Phil Jagielka, the Sheffield United legend, could receive an offer to prolong his decorated playing career from Bolton when his Blades contract officially expires this week.
The former Everton captain, who turns 39 soon after the start of the new season next month, was not offered an extension to his United contract after the club’s relegation last season.
Jagielka made 309 appearances for the Blades across two spells, either side of a 12-year stay at Everton that also saw him capped 40 times by England, and admitted he would have liked to stay at Bramall Lane. READ FULL STORY HERE