Sheffield United: Slav has plan if star players get poached

Slavisa Jokanovic has sought to allay fears that Sheffield United’s push for an immediate return to the Premier League could be wrecked by interest from some of Europe’s biggest names in members of his squad.

By James Shield
Saturday, 17th July 2021, 5:00 am

The Serb, who acknowledged midfielder Sander Berge could depart following last season’s relegation durins been described as a minor injury. Talks are also planned with Ramsdale and Baldock, although Jokanovic will only summon the latter to a meeting if officials at Parkhead decide to submit a bid.

A former top-flight player himself in Spain, Yugoslavia and England - where he spent two years with Chelsea - Jokanovic is aware the transfer market can throw up unexpected surprises. So, with that in mind, he has drawn-up a number of different recruitment plans to try and cover every eventuality.

“It is still very early for decisions on losing players,” said Jokanovic, referencing the fact that United have yet to receive offers for any of the trio. “But I do have a plan. In this world, you never know what can happen. It is impossible to predict.

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

“There are discussions in newspapers and of course I see them. I hope they are not true but I am aware of them. So you make sure you have a plan.”

Like Ramsdale, Berge has been identified as a potential new signing by Arsenal after expressing his desire to play European football again. He represented Genk in both the Europa League and the Champions League before moving to England. Napoli and Lazio are also monitoring his situation closely.

Jokanovic has made midfield and centre-half his own priority positions, with Wolverhampton Wamderers’ Dion Sanderson being linked before his switch to Birmingham City.g his official unveiling at Bramall Lane, could also find himself battling to retain Aaron Ramsdale’s services after Arsenal added the goalkeeper to their list of summer targets.

As The Star revealed earlier this month, George Baldock counts Celtic among his admirers with the former Scottish Premiership champions compiling a detailed dossier on the defender.

Although Berge is already believed to have informed United he is minded to leave, Jokanovic will attempt to persuade the Norway international to remain in South Yorkshire next term when he recovers from what has been described as a “minor” injury.