The potential factors which may scupper any Sheffield United move for Liverpool wonderkid Harvey Elliott
Any hopes Slavisa Jokanović harbours of being reunited with Harvey Elliott at Sheffield United this summer will depend on the transfer business undertaken by his parent club, Premier League side Liverpool.
Jokanović has predictably been linked with the young Reds player after taking over at Bramall Lane.
The Blades have targeted loan signings to strengthen their squad this summer, in an attempt to mitigate the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Elliott proved himself in the Championship last season with seven goals and 11 assists on loan at Blackburn Rovers.
Perhaps crucially, player and manager have history too. Jokanović gave Elliott his chance at Fulham when he was just 15 years old, appearing in the EFL Cup while still at secondary school.
Elliott signed a new long-term deal at Liverpool this summer, and backed himself to get into the Reds’ first-team. With wingers such as Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in front of him, that appears a tall order and may suggest why Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp recently tweaked Elliott’s role, to a deeper midfield one.
The departure of Gini Wijnaldum may have created a vacancy in central midfield for Klopp’s men, which may scupper any hopes of United taking Elliott on loan if they do decide to firm up their interest.
Asked about Elliott learning from Liverpool’s senior players this summer on their pre-season trip to Austria, Klopp said: “That’s always like this, each young player is doing that and should do that probably – but only to a specific extent because most of these players were not in the same place like Harvey is in that age.
“It’s different, that’s what I want to say. But what is really nice about the story is that we created really an atmosphere where the boys care about each other as well, they really want to help each other.
“Everybody wants the group to be in the best shape, maybe that’s the example more for that story. I like it a lot. It could happen with [James Milner] constantly that somebody takes something from him.
“That’s this team, that’s us and I really like it a lot. Harvey made a step, I have to say. He looks in a proper shape, really, really fit. He came back in a good shape and is here now in full training obviously.
“You can see last year really worked well for him. Now let’s make the next steps together.”
It is understood that the relative failure of Ben Woodburn’s loan move from Liverpool to Bramall Lane in 2018 would not be held against United if the Reds did decide to loan out any of their top talent. Woodburn arrived in South Yorkshire with a great reputation, but made only one league start after failing to nail down his place.
"He is definitely a talented kid,” Jokanovic said of Elliott in 2018 after giving the youngster his debut at 15.
“At the end he showed some of the quality. We believe in opportunities to test at the senior level.
"He moved the ball with quality and showed some speed. It's a great opportunity for him. We believe the future can be bright ahead of him.
"I don't know if I can in English use a wrong word but he is arrogant and positive. This kid shows the personality, like he says: 'I want to show you I am a very good player; I want to show you'.
"I say, 'Okay, if you can show me I give you this opportunity'."