Sheffield United: Why Adlene Guedioura comes with cast iron guarantee, even though he could miss a month of season
Adlene Guedioura’s move to Sheffield United is guaranteed to be a success, manager Slavisa Jokanovic has insisted, after it emerged the midfielder could miss over a month of the season if he is named in the Algeria squad for next year’s African Cup of Nations.
Djamel Belmadi’s team will enter the tournament, which is scheduled to begin in January, as the defending champions after beating Senegal in the final two years ago.
Although Guedioura, who helped his country lift the trophy for the first time since 1990, now appears to be on the periphery of the former Manchester City and Southampton player’s plans, Jokanovic appeared to confirm he is being considered for a recall having agreed a short-term contract at Bramall Lane.
If Guedioura is selected for the trip to Cameroon, he could miss up to five Championship games, including meetings with West Bromwich Albion and Derby County who visit South Yorkshire this weekend.
“I do not have the news that he is retired,” Jokanivic told The Star. “I believe, before the last international break, we were given a ‘possible list’ and he was on it.
“To be honest, though, I am not really thinking about this moment and what might or might not happen. I know Adlene because I have worked with him before. And so I know, because I understand his personality and know his character, that we really can not make a mistake by bringing him here. It is not possible.”
Guedioura worked under Jokanovic at both Watford and Al-Gharafa before being invited to train with United last month. Aged 35, he signed a deal lasting until the end of the season before making his debut for them during the 3-1 victory over Hull City six days ago.
“I know Adlene because I am working a lot of years with him,” continued Jokanovic, having handed Guedioura a starting role when United faced Southampton in the Carabao Cup 72 hours later. “I know he can support the team. He plays a decent game. He shows he can support us off the pitch and he can play on the pitch.
“He is a champion of his continent. He is not here because he is like a member of my family. He is here because he deserves to be. He will fight for his place in the starting eleven. If he doesn’t get in, he will still push.”
Guedioura is expected to return to the bench for the meeting with Wayne Rooney’s side, after the on-loan Conor Hourihane was rested for the third round tie. Sander Berge also remains a doubt.
Although United bowed out of the competition on penalties, the performance they delivered was praised by both Jokanovic and Ralph Hasenhuttl alike with the Austrian, whose side will face Jokanovic’s former club Chelsea in the next round, later admitting it was “impossible to tell the difference between the two divisions.”
“We are doing well but we can do more,” Jokanovic said. “In order to do better, we need the whole group and that includes Adlene and others in it.
“I brought him here because I know what he is like as a player and as a person. That is why I know how much he can support and help us.”