Tom Cairney: Sheffield United adopt a diplomatic approach towards potential chase for Fulham midfielder
Sheffield United will not attempt to force through a deal for Fulham’s Tom Cairney, despite the fact that both the player and their new manager Slavisa Jokanovic would welcome the prospect of working together again.
Despite Jokanovic’s decision not to make sweeping changes to the squad he is set to inherit at the beginning of next month, telling Bramall Lane’s board of directors he suspects only minor adjustments are required in order to challenge for promotion next term, United have inevitably been linked with Cairney since confirming the Serb will take charge on July 1.
Midfield is a priority position for United this summer, with Sander Berge expected to depart following their relegation from the Premier League and John Lundstram already leaving after refusing to extend his contract. Paul Heckingbottom, who was placed in caretaker charge before Jokanovic’s appointment last month, cryptically suggested that Lundstram could yet decide to remain in South Yorkshire before relinquishing control. But that seems unlikely, given United’s decision to include his name on the released list they recently published which also included centre-half Phil Jagielka and goalkeeper Simon Moore.
Cairney’s future in west London has been shrouded in doubt ever since it emerged Scott Parker, Jokanovic’s predecessor at Craven Cottage, has been unsettled ever since Fulham were relegated alongside United last term.
With Parker appearing destined for AFC Bournemouth, they have reportedly slapped a £10m price tag on the Scot in order to ward-off interest from rival clubs.
Despite valuing Berge at £35m, United are not planning to embark on a major spending spree following Jokanovic’s arrival, with the former Yugoslavia international confirming he is broadly satisfied with the options at his disposal.
However, if Cairney indicates he wants to resurrect his partnership with Jokanovic, then United would explore ways of trying to open negotiations with his parent club.
Jokanovic led a Fulham side which contained Cairney and Oliver Norwood, now of United, out of the Championship in 2018 before heading to the Middle East.
He also reached the top-flight with Watford three years earlier, but moved on before they made their return to the PL.