Sheffield United's Slavisa Jokanovic gives his seal of approval to recruitment decision

Paul Mitchell, Sheffield United’s head of recruitment, is set to remain on staff when Slavisa Jokanovic officially takes charge next month after impressing the Serb with his work.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:30 pm

Despite reports that Mitchell could be forced to leave Bramall Lane when Jokanovic’s reign begins, The Star understands he will continue in the position he has held since 2016 after impressing Chris Wilder’s successor with his work over the past five years.

Mitchell, who was appointed at Wilder’s behest, has spent the summer identifying potential transfer targets and players whose progress should be monitored over the next 12 months should United make an immediate return to the Premier League following last season’s relegation.

His presence explains why many players known to interest Wilder continue to be linked with moves to South Yorkshire, although they withdrew from the race for Scotland youth international Kyle Joseph when the 53-year-old parted company with his boyhood club.

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Joseph recently agreed to join Swansea City, who are expected to be one of United’s rivals in the race for promotion from the Championship next term.

Remarkably Mitchell, whose career as a talent spotter began in earnest at Chesterfield, did not hold a position in football when he answered Wilder’s call to oversee what proved to be a major overhaul of United’s squad and was frequently mentioned in dispatches by the 53-year-old during their climb from the third to the first tier of the English game.

Instrumental in bringing Liam Cooper, now of Leeds and Scotland, Jimmy Ryan and Sam Clucas to north Derbyshire, Mitchell’s presence at United meant it was inevitable they were linked with the latter following reports he will be allowed to leave Stoke City as part of a financial restructuring exercise.

Joe Allen is another player City want to sell in order to reduce salary costs, with United viewed as a potential destination for the Wales international by officials at the bet365 Stadium. However, it remains unclear if Jokanovic will instruct United to bid for Allen when he returns from the European Championships.

Slavisa Jokanovic (R) with Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah
Slavisa Jokanovic (R) with Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah

Midfield is a priority position for United in this summer’s transfer window, with Sander Berge interesting Arsenal and John Lundstram refusing to extend his contract, which expires this month.