Sheffield United: List of summer transfer targets is close to being finalised, new manager Slavisa Jokanovic reveals
Slavisa Jokanovic is continuing to work his way through the list of potential new signings presented to him by Sheffield United’s hierarchy following his arrival at Bramall Lane earlier this month, identifying those players he believes can strengthen his squad and striking off others regarded as unsuitable.
The process, which is now close to completion following a series of recruitment meetings last week, gathered pace following the appointment of Chema Sanz, previously technical director at Valencia, to United’s backroom staff.
The Spaniard, who was introduced to the squad during their recent training camp in Estepona, has also provided his thoughts on where United need to strengthen according to a source who travelled with them to the Costa del Sol.
Although Jokanovic began assessing the candidates proposed by United’s chief talent spotter Paul Mitchell before officially taking charge, the Serb told the board of directors he wanted to observe those already in situ at close quarters before making changes.
One member of Jokanovic’s inner circle has told The Star he broadly agrees with the overwhelming majority of Mitchell’s picks - something the former Yugoslavia international appeared to confirm following Saturday’s friendly against Europa Point.
“We are in a process and we are still checking things to make sure we know what is best for us,” Jokanovic said. “Football is full of opinions and options.
“Definitely, we need to do some things. I know that and the club know that as well, because they told me of their plans and intentions before I came in. That has already been ongoing for some time, because there was a realisation that was the case.”
“The club has offered me some solutions,” Jokanovic added. “There are things coming from the club’s side regarding possible bids and I am checking the characteristics of those players, because of what I will ask of them. I know what will be demanded of these players, so we need to consider that carefully as you would expect.”
With Sander Berge expected to follow John Lundstram through the exit door, United have made midfield and defence their priorities during the summer window. With Lundstram making it clear he would not be extending his contract long before completing a switch to Rangers, Mitchell had already started monitoring possible replacements for the Liverpudlian. The departure of veteran centre-half Phil Jagielka was also common knowledge behind the scenes for some time, allowing Mitchell to also begin profiling a selection of defenders.
“They (the recruitment department) have done a great job and in the end we need to move forward,” Jokanovic said. “We need to check to see what is realistic and what is not, I have confidence and a realisation that we can find the people who can help.”
United, who returned to England on Tuesday, continue their preparations for the forthcoming Championship campaign with a trip to Doncaster Rovers next week before finishing their warm-up schedule by welcoming Norwich City to South Yorkshire.
Relegated from the Premier League last term, United return to competitive action when Birmingham City visit Bramall Lane on August 7.