Sheffield United: Two of Slavisa Jokanovic's most trusted allies are set to join him at Bramall Lane

Sheffield United are set to unveil two new appointments to their backroom staff, as Slavisa Jokanovic begins preparing to officially take charge at Bramall Lane.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:45 pm

The Star understands Jokanovic, who was confirmed as Chris Wilder’s permanent successor last month, has identified two individuals he wants to work alongside in South Yorkshire - with talks between their representatives and United’s hierarchy thought to have reached an advanced stage.

Although the names of the people set to join the Serb at United have yet to be revealed, both are thought to hail from overseas.

Rafael Cristobal, a 48-year-old Spaniard, served as Jokanovic’s fitness coach during his successful spell in charge of Fulham having previously held similar positions at Las Palmas, Alaves, Real Valladolid and Levante.

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Slavisa Jokanovic is the new Sheffield United manager: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Slavisa Jokanovic is the new Sheffield United manager: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

With science and coaching specialist Matt Prestridge departing during the cull which followed Wilder’s exit in March, Cristobal could be one of those discussing the possibility of joining United.

Sources in China have suggested they expect Javier Pereira, another of Jokanovic’s trusted lieutenants at Craven Cottage, to remain with Henan Jianye. However, this has yet to be officially confirmed.

Jokanovic, who is scheduled to officially take charge of United on July 1, performed due diligence on a number of existing staff members before deciding not to completely overhaul their back office operations.

Despite offering the position to Wilder’s assistant Alan Knill, United’s owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has confirmed he does not plan to install a director of football to lighten Jokanovic’s workload.

Instead, after Knill declined the invitation to accept an administrative and strategic role, Jan van Winckel is set to continue operating as an unofficial DoF having been involved in the discussions which led to Jokanovic’s arrival.

Van Winckel is an important figure in the United World project - a global network of clubs established by Prince Abdullah to help develop talent and business best practices. Abdullah Alghamdi, UW’s chief executive, was pictured alongside the Saudi Arabian and Jokanovic at the lunch in Geneva where United confirmed the 52-year-old would be taking the reins when his contract with Al-Gharafa expires.