Sheffield United: Slavisa Jokanovic's latest message to his squad as he prepares to check-in at Bramall Lane
Slavisa Jokanovic, who officially takes charge of Sheffield United on Thursday, has told the club’s players that past reputations will count for little when the battle for places in his starting eleven gets underway.
The message, relayed in an email delivered to every member of the first team squad ahead of next week’s return to training, is designed to ensure their work meets his exacting standards from the first session onwards.
Jokanovic, whose appointment was confirmed last month following United’s relegation from the Premier League, has previously won promotion from England’s second tier with both Fulham and Watford.
Although the former Yugoslavia, Chelsea and Partizan Belgrade midfielder is not scheduled to arrive in South Yorkshire until the end of the week coaching staff will be providing him with updates every evening ahead of his first appearance at Steelphalt Academy.
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One of the most pressing items on Jokanovic’s agenda is to meet with Sander Berge, Kean Bryan, Regan Slater and Jayden Bogle who have all been linked with moves away from United this summer.
United are actively trying to sell Berge, having heard the Norway international express his desire to play Champions League football again before their demotion from the top-flight. Arsenal, Napoli and Aston Villa feature among Berge’s admirers but are all unwilling to meet United’s £35m asking price.
A contract offer has been made to Bryan, whose present deal is scheduled to expire 24 hours before Jokanovic lands in England while Slater’s future is likely to be decided towards the end of the transfer window, when the youngster gauges his prospects under Jokanovic.
Hull City where he recently completed a successful period on loan, and Preston North End are all monitoring his situation closely.
City recently approached United about the possibility of making his temporary agreement permanent but were told Jokanovic wants to observe Slater in action first before deciding whether or not to retain his services.
United hope to take part in at least five warm-up fixtures before their return to competitive action in August, when Birmingham City make the journey north. At least one of those is likely to be against foreign opposition although the Covid-19 pandemic means their friendly programme has yet to be unveiled.