Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic talks transfers, Sander Berge and reveals the player he 'isn't even thinking about' right now
Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed the process of strengthening his squad is already underway after acknowledging reinforcements are required before the start of the new season.
A new midfielder features at the top of the Serb’s wanted list, with officials at Bramall Lane telling him they expect Sander Berge to depart following last term’s relegation from the Premier League.
With centre-half another priority position, Jokanovic refused to be drawn on reports linking United with Brighton and Hove Albion’s Matt Clarke.
But he did reveal a series of high-profile recruitment meetings have taken place during the club’s warm weather training camp in Spain, where officials have briefed him on how talks with the potential signings he has identified are progressing.
“The club have offered me some solutions, and we have some ourselves,” Jokanovic said. “There are things coming from the club side with bids. I have checked on the characteristics of the players and I have also asked people here about them.”
Acknowledging he was presented with a list of targets before agreeing to take charge two months ago, Jokanovic added: “They (the recruitment department) have made a great job and at the end, we need to move forward. We need to check to see what is realistic and what is not.
“I have the realisation, and I know, that we can find people who can help us.”
Berge missed Saturday’s friendly against Europa Point; Jokanovic’s first appearance in the dug-out since being appointed. The Norway international has attracted interest from both Arsenal and Napoli in recent weeks. But Jokanovic, who wants Berge to remain in South Yorkshire next term, warned it would be a mistake to interpret his absence as a sign that a deal is imminent.
“I know the situation with Sander,” he said. “There is a possibility that he will be one guy who leaves, but I hope this doesn’t happen.
“But the club informed me about this for a reason, so that we can be ready if that does happen. If it doesn’t, then of course that will be good for us too.”
"Sander has a minor (injury) problem,” Jokanovic continued. “I stress, a minor one. That is why he wasn’t with us. He is with the medical people but it is nothing serious. That is what he is working on at the moment and he will be okay soon.”
Jokanovic was also asked if he thinks Kean Bryan, whose contract expired at the end of last month, will accept United’s offer of an extension or elect to continue his career elsewhere. The centre-half has been training on his own since becoming a free agent.
“He is not with us, so I am not thinking about him,” Jokanovic said. “I am only thinking about the players who are with us.
“If something changes, then the club will tell me. But right now, no, I am not thinking about him because he isn’t here with us. If that changes, then I think about him. If not, then I don’t.”