Sheffield United: Manager unconcerned by defender's talks with rival club

Sheffield United have effectively withdrawn their contract offer to Kean Bryan, after it emerged the defender is exploring the possibility of a move to Championship rivals Middlesbrough.

Saturday, 24th July 2021, 6:02 pm

Slavisa Jokanovic’s frustration with Bryan’s refusal to acknowledge the proposal Bramall Lane’s board tabled with his representative became evident earlier this summer, with the Serb replying “I’m not even thinking about him” in response to a question about the 24-year-old’s future.

Although the exact details of the salary package United wanted Bryan to sign remain undisclosed, senior figures at the club are known to have been disappointed by the player’s refusal to even acknowledge its existence.

After holding talks with West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough are the latest team to express an interest in the centre-half. Despite making his Premier League debut for United last season, a desire to play regular first team football appears to have convinced Bryan to leave.

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Slavisa Jokanovic the new manager of Sheffield Utd during his press afternoon at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 2nd July 2021. Picture credit should read: Darren Staples / Sportimage

Jokanovic, whose side continues its preparations for the new season with a visit to Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday before hosting Norwich City three days later, had already planned to be without the former Manchester City youngster before taking charge on July 1.

However, some members of United’s hierarchy had refused to completely close the door on the idea of Bryan returning until it became clear he is in discussions with Neil Warnock’s side.

After progressing through City’s youth system, Bryan spent time on loan at both Bury and Oldham Athletic before joining United in 2018. He became a free agent on June 30, just over a month after United’s relegation from the top-flight was confirmed.