Sheffield United's latest overseas transfer target fits the Premier League club's profile
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Aged 22, the Brondy midfielder is expected to leave the 11-time Danish champions this summer after approaching the end of his present contract, which is scheduled to expire next summer. Capped by Tunisia and a member of the squad which appeared at last year’s World Cup, Slimane is also understood to have attracted interest from a number of clubs in France.
Crucially, the youngster perfectly fits the profile manager Paul Heckingbottom and owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud devised during a series of strategy meetings following United’s promotion back to the Premier League. With only around £20m available to reprofile their squad, Heckingbottom and the Saudi Arabian agreed to focus the majority of the resources on players yet to turn 24 but with enough experience to immediately command a place in the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief’s starting eleven.
Slimane, previously of Akademisk Boldklub (AB), ticks all of those boxes. As well as representing his adopted country at the biggest football tournament on earth - joining United’s Iliman Ndiaye and Adam Davies in Qatar - the former Denmark youth international has also appeared for his present employers in the Champions League; making his bow in the competition against Red Bull Salzburg two years ago.
Valued at around £4m - although that figure could rise if he attracts more interest from England - Slimane has indicated that he is ready to pursue a career abroad after making nearly 100 appearances in the Superliga. As well as United, that has also piqued the interest of Lorient, Brest and Toulouse, who have sold striker Rhys Healey to Watford.
United are expected to try and recruit at least two midfielders this summer, with James McAtee and Tommy Doyle returning to Manchester City following successful loan spells. Heckingbottom will attempt to negotiate fresh deals for both although Pep Guardiola has indicated he wants McAtee to remain in the North-West.