Sheffield United transfer news: Slavisa Jokanovic set to redraft his priorities after injury set-back
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, will redouble his efforts to sign a holding midfielder in January after revealing that Adlene Guedioura has undergone surgery.
Jokanovic confirmed the role was a priority position during an interview with The Star earlier this week, before divulging the exact reason behind Guedioura’s recent absences.
With the player now expected to miss at least 10 Championship matches as he recovers, Jokanovic will urge United to fill what he considers to be a gaping hole within his squad when the transfer window reopens.
After seeing a loan move for Sampdoria’s Ronaldo Vieira collapse before the August deadline, Jokanovic identified Guedioura as a potential short-term fix when he also left Al-Gharafa at the end of the Qatari season. But the Serb, who parted company with the Al-Rayyan based club to take charge of United last summer, has always remained convinced that a permanent solution is required.
A move for Vieira will not be resurrected, with the former Leeds youngster failing to make a single appearance for Robert D’Aversa’s side since returning to Italy when United’s medical department detected he was carrying a knock and also suffering from another health issue.
Jokanovic’s interest in Vieira stemmed from his belief that utilising Oliver Norwood in a more advanced role is the key to getting the best out of both him and John Fleck, who are set to shield United’s defence at Blackburn Rovers today.
After making his United debut against Hull City in September, Guedioura has made only one more outing since.
Jokanovic insisted the Algerian, whose dream of helping his country defend their African Cup of Nations title early next year has now been dashed, was “available” for selection before last weekend’s game against Blackpool.
But after missing that game and also Tuesday’s visit to Nottingham Forest, Jokanovic admitted it had been decided the ankle injury which has been troubling the 35-year-old in recent weeks would require an operation to correct. Guedioura is now unlikely to return to action until January at the earliest, meaning he has no chance of forcing his way into Djamel Belmadi’s squad for the 2022 AFCON tournament, which begins in January.
If Guedioura had been selected - and serious consideration was being given to picking him if he accumulated some game-time with United, then he could have been unavailable for domestic competition until mid-February.
United have prepared for their trip to Ewood Park 16th in the Championship table, four points behind Tony Mowbray’s 12th placed team and trailing the play-off positions by a further two.
Jokanovic has also outlined plans to recruit a winger - or ideally two - as part of his plan to improve their fortunes. Manchester United’s Amad Diallo and Alex Collado of Barcelona both came under consideration soon after Jokanovic started work at Bramall Lane in July.
Collado appeared set to join United until officials in South Yorkshire began briefing the deal had broken down because of his agent’s demands. That claim was subsequently disputed by Collado’s representative with the Catalans also understood to be confused by how the situation had developed.