Sheffield United: Why Chema Sanz is set to become a huge influence at Bramall Lane after leaving Valencia
Sheffield United could attempt to exploit Chema Sanz’s knowledge of the Spanish transfer market this summer, as they attempt to strengthen Slavisa Jokanovic’s squad ahead of the new season.
The Spaniard’s appointment as the Championship club’s first team coach was confirmed earlier this week, as he joined fellow new arrivals Rafael Cristobal and Marco Cesarini at its overseas training camp.
Outlining the reasons behind his decision to leave Valencia, where he served as both manager of their ‘B’ team and also technical director, Sanz explained how Jokanovic first approached him about the possibility of working together before the end of last year - five months before the Serb accepted the challenge of leading United back into the Premier League following last term’s relegation.
Although Jokanovic is expected to make a small number of permanent signings, United have decided to focus their attention on the loan market ahead of next month’s return to competitive action. Despite resolving to focus on players with knowledge of English football, Sanz is likely to be asked to identify any possible leads in La Liga or the Segunda Division should suitable targets fail to emerge within the domestic game.
Sanz’s off-the pitch work at the Mestalla is expected to see him become a hugely influential figure at Bramall Lane. Jokanovic, who knows the 51-year-old from his days as a player with Tenerife, spoke at length about the need to devise, implement and then stick to a strategy during his official unveiling at Bramall Lane last week. That is one of Sanz’s strengths, with Jan van Winckel, United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s closest sporting advisor, also possessing a wealth of technical experience.
Cristobal, who becomes head of first team performance, and Cesarini, United’s new head of first team medical services, were also introduced to the players ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Europa Point of Gibraltar.
United are scheduled to continue their preparations for next month’s game against Birmingham City by meeting Doncaster Rovers and Norwich City following their return to England. All three matches are being streamed live by United on one of their social media channels.