Sheffield United: Striker Daniel Jebbison made a big decision before Everton began trying to force his exit from Bramall Lane
Daniel Jebbison told Sheffield United he wanted to join Burton Albion on loan before Everton fired the starting pistol in the race for the teenage centre-forward’s signature, telling Bramall Lane’s board of directors they are willing to pay £5m to take him to Goodison Park this summer.
Despite seeing his preparations for the match overshadowed by news of the Premier League club’s interest, Slavisa Jokanovic still selected Jebbison in his starting eleven for Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup tie against Derby County before withdrawing him at half-time.
Speaking after the 2-1 win, which saw United set up a meeting with Southampton in the third round, Jokanovic refused to be drawn on reports linking the 18-year-old with a switch to Merseyside or claims that Aston Villa and Leeds are also preparing bids of their own. But the Serb did predict, having once again acknowledged it might be difficult to regularly accommodate Jebbison in his teams for United’s Championship games, that the youngster could eventually go on to represent England at senior level having already been capped by the under-18’s.
With United struggling to adjust to life back in the second tier after being relegated last season, Jokanovic’s preference is to place Jebbison with a League One club after cementing his future at Bramall Lane. The Star understands the player was given permission to meet with officials from both Sunderland and Albion earlier this month, where they presented him, his agent and also family members with their proposed development programmes. Although Jebbison was impressed with the what was being offered on Wearside, sources with knowledge of the negotiation process have revealed the prospect of working under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - Jokanovic’s former Chelsea team mate and one of the greatest strikers of his generation - prompted him to tell United that, if they did want to loan him out, the Pirelli Stadium was his preferred destination.
However, with Bramall Lane’s hierarchy demanding a £1m facility fee to process the move, the switch has so far failed to materialise - providing Everton with a window of opportunity they believe they can exploit.
There are also suspicions in Staffordshire and the North-East, where Sunderland have continued to maintain a watching brief, that United’s demand was born out of a desire to raise money for Jokanovic to spend after he expressed frustration at their lack of progress in the transfer market. One influential figure behind the scenes in South Yorkshire, outside of the manager’s inner circle, is also believed to have been trying to steer Jebbison towards Beerschot - United’s sister club in Belgium and fellow members of the United World network.
Having only moved to England from Canada in 2017, the prospect of relocating again - even if it is only on a temporary basis - is unlikely to find favour with Jebbison, who became the youngest player to score on his full Premier League debut when United triumphed at Goodison Park towards the end if last term. Less than a week later, he put pen to paper on his first professional contract and has made seven more appearances since ahead of this weekend’s visit to Luton Town.