Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic sends a coded message to Everton - and his own club - about in-demand striker Daniel Jebbison
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted he will not allow his own personal interests to influence a decision on what is best for Daniel Jebbison’s development after admitting it would suit him better to keep the teenage centre-forward at Bramall Lane.
By refusing to acknowledge a question about Everton’s desire to sign Jebbison during his latest media briefing, deliberately choosing to talk about the player’s future in South Yorkshire rather than their £5m bid, Jokanovic also signalled that he has no desire to see the youngster depart before the forthcoming transfer deadline.
Instead, delivering a message that was designed to resonate in the boardrooms of both clubs, Jokanovic acknowledged the most difficult decision he faces regarding the 18-year-old is whether to allow him to join a League One side on loan or keep him at United for the remainder of the Championship season.
“With Jebbo, I am talking a lot of the time about him,” Jokanovic said. “I am not against Jebbo going and playing every week in senior football. But I am not against Jebbo staying with us. I am only a little bit worried that, personally, I can not be selfish. I can stay with him and cover my back. But in another direction, if he can play senior football every week is it better?
“Or just working with us, playing under-23 games and using him when we have the space and the right moment.”
Jokanovic handed Jebbison, who has also attracted admiring glances from Aston Villa and Leeds since scoring on his full Premier League debut last term, his latest first team start during Tuesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Derby County. With Billy Sharp scoring twice in two games and Oli McB urine, Rhian Brewster and David McGoldrick also available for selection, Jebbison could do well to make the bench when United return to league action at Luton Town this weekend.
But, confirming he views the youngster as a serious medium to long-term contender for a regular attacking role in his side, Jokanovic added: “We have to be clever, prudent and choose what is best for us. If I am thinking only about me, I will say ‘stay with me Jebbo' but we need to make the right choice."