Sheffield United: Manager forced to rethink his strategy after move for winger collapsed

Slavisa Jokanovic has conceded Sheffield United’s failure to sign at least one of wingers he had identified as targets before last month’s transfer deadline will force him to rethink his tactics until the window reopens.

By James Shield
Friday, 10th September 2021, 4:00 pm

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against Peterborough, which United hope will deliver their first win of the new Championship season, the Serb admitted he wanted to add greater width to his squad following its disappointing start to the campaign.

However, the collapse of Alex Collado’s loan move from Barcelona means Jokanovic must now investigate alternative ways of solving a problem he believes has contributed to their poor results since returning to action.

“We are still without clear wingers in the team,” he said. “But for some reason, we didn’t finish the job with one player so we need to adjust a little with different characteristics.”

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“I repeat,” Jokanovic added. “The window is now done.”

Collado, who has made two senior appearances for the Catalan giants, appeared set to join new arrivals Morgan Gibbs-White, Robin Olsen and Conor Hourihane in South Yorkshire until United withdrew from the deal. Sources at Bramall Lane claimed demands by the youngster’s agent prompted them to take the decision, although this is disputed by both Collado’s representative and his employers.

Jokanovic, who could deploy Gibbs-White on the flank this weekend, made little attempt to disguise his frustration with the speed of United’s summer recruitment programme before the international break. Olsen, the Sweden goalkeeper, told reporters in Italy that his switch from AS Roma was only completed with “minutes” to spare despite United selling Aaron Ramsdale to Arsenal nearly a fortnight earlier while Gibbs-White appeared to suggest an agreement with his parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers could have been reached soon after Jokanovic officially started work in July.

With Olsen, Gibbs-White, Hourihane and Liverpool defender Ben Davies all being acquired on temporary rather than permanent basis, Jokanovic said: “It, the transfer strategy, can be better or worse. Of course people prefer permanent signings.

Slavisa Jokanovic wanted to sign a winger: Darren Staples / Sportimage

“Some players we had intentions of signing, we could not finish the job with them.

“But I believe we bring some quality guys into the team. What I prefer is not important right now. I agreed to sign these players.”

Like Gibbs-White, Hourihane is set to feature against Darren Ferguson’s side. But United were last night uncertain if Olsen would be cleared to start because of legislation introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19. Previously of Malmo and FC Copenhagen, the 31-year-old is understood to have arrived in England on Thursday after featuring during his country’s World Cup qualifiers against Spain and Greece.

Davies is also a doubt because of a foot problem. David McGoldrick is undergoing treatment for a calf issue.

Darren Ferguson, manager of Peterborough United: Lewis Storey/Getty Images

“We are not satisfied with this start,” said Jokanovic, referring to the fact his team has taken only two points from its opening five league games. “We know we have not given enough to our supporters.

“I know our supporters understand the situation, that we are looking for different ways to win the game.”