Sheffield United: 'This is the best squad I've inherited in England,' Slavisa Jokanovic tells Blades
Slavisa Jokanovic is prepared to wait until later this summer before bolstering the options at his disposal, after telling Sheffield United’s hierarchy he is impressed with the quality of the squad he will inherit at the beginning of next month.
The Serb, who is scheduled to start work at Bramall Lane on July 1, has spent the past fortnight studying the strengths and weaknesses of the group he hopes to lead to promotion next season after being confirmed as Chris Wilder’s successor last month.
Although Jokanovic is still officially contracted to Al-Gharafa, having agreed to fulfil his obligations with the Qataris, The Star understands he has told the board that United’s first team is already better equipped to challenge than the sides he took over at Watford and Fulham - before delivering Premier League football to both Vicarage Road and Craven Cottage.
That assessment means Jokanovic is reluctant to make sweeping changes until he has met United’s players in the flesh and calculated how receptive they are to his instructions. It means the likes of Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie - should he remain in South Yorkshire after attracting interest from Rangers - will be given opportunities to stake claims for starting roles under the new regime despite struggling for form in recent months.
Although Sander Berge is still expected to depart after revealing his desire to compete at Champions League level again having previously represented Genk in the tournament, sources close to Jokanovic have indicated he is ready to bide his time during the summer window before entering the market.
The exception to that rule is expected to come in midfield, where a vacancy exists for an attacking, creative talent following John Lundstram’s refusal to extend his contract.
Stoke City’s Joe Allen, who is currently on Euro 2020 duty with Wales, will be offered to United as part of a cost cutting exercise at the bet365 Stadium while Tom Cairney has also been linked having previously worked with Jokanovic in west London.
However Fulham are unlikely to sanction any sales until Scott Parker’s situation is resolved, with Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder among those viewed as potential replacements for the former England international should he join AFC Bournemouth.