Sheffield United take a view on midfield target as the battle for Sander Berge rumbles on
Sheffield United have drawn up a list of alternative midfield transfer targets during this summer’s window after privately admitting they have only a slim chance of signing Fulham’s Tom Cairney.
Slavisa Jokanovic United’s new manager, would welcome the prospect of working with the Scotland international again as he prepares his squad for the new Championship season - after the two men helped deliver top-flight football to Craven Cottage three years ago.
Like United, Fulham were also relegated from the Premier League last term and could offload a number of high profile figures as Scott Parker, Jokanovic’s counterpart in west London, looks to shake-up his squad.
Although United are expected to have money to spend, particularly with Sander Berge attracting interest from Arsenal, they acknowledge Fulham will be reluctant to sell Cairney to a direct promotion rival. Indeed, some members of the South Yorkshire club’s hierarchy suspect they could even raise their £10m valuation if they receive an offer from Bramall Lane - not least because Parker appears keen to retain Cairney’s services.
The uncertainty surrounding Berge’s future, combined with John Lundstram’s refusal to agree a new contract, means a midfield will be a priority position for Jokanovic when he officially takes charge next month.
However, the Serb is thought to have presented United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with a list of possible acquisitions during the recent meeting in Geneva which sealed his appointment.
Jokanovic, who has also won promotion to the top-flight with Watford, is being encouraged to view the loan market as his primary source of fresh talent - with United keen to exploit his contacts both at home and abroad.
But the former Yugoslavia international has been reassured that funding will be made available for permanent deals too; which explains the hardline stance United have adopted towards their £35m asking price for Berge.
After also offering the Norwegian to Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year - when it became clear they were destined to return to the English Football League - have so far resisted invitations to negotiate both the price and payment structure they are demanding before doing business.