Sheffield United: Former manager interests Russian giants

Dynamo Moscow’s search for a new head coach could lead them to the door of a former Sheffield United manager, with reports in Russia suggesting they are interested in hiring Slavisa Jokanovic.

Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:00 am

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Sandro Schwarz left his position at the VTB Arena earlier this month to take charge of Hertha Berlin, prompting the 11 time Soviet and national champions to begin identifying potential replacements for the German.

One of the names to feature on general director Pavel Pivovarov’s shortlist is understood to be Jokanovic, who spent six months with United before being replaced by Paul Heckingbottom in November. The 53-year-old has been out of work since then, but recently outlined his desire to return to the game should a suitable vacancy arise.

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Slavisa Jokanovic is said to boast admirers at Dynamo Moscow: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Despite enduring a difficult time in South Yorkshire where United, after being relegated the season before, struggled to adapt to his preferred style of play, Jokanovic remains highly respected in footballing circles having steered both Watford and Fulham to promotion before returning to England following a spell with Al Gharafa.

But it is his work with Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade, where he twice won the league and cup double, which will resonate most in Russia given the strong cultural ties between the two countries. Although the government in Belgrade has officially condemned the invasion of Ukraine, which saw Dynamo and other clubs in the RPL banned from taking part in European competition, they have previously worked with the Kremlin on a number of key strategic projects.

Paul Heckingbottom replaced Slavisa Jokanovic in November: Cameron Smith/Getty Images

That means it is unlikely Jokanovic would face the same issues working in Russia someone from another European country might be faced with, despite several club owners there urging foreign players to stay rather than seek ways to escape from their contracts following the outbreak of hostilities.

Filip Uremovic, the Croatia defender, completed a short spell with United towards the end of last term after suspending his agreement with Rubin Kazan. He now represents Hertha, where Schwarz was unveiled following the departure of Felix Magath who left his position after helping them retain their Bundesliga status.

Jokanovic has also worked in Israel, Thailand, Bulgaria and Spain after retiring as a player.

Slavisa Jokanovic has been out of work since leaving Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage