Sheffield United: Two of Slavisa Jokanovic's right-hand men are already "in the city" as Blades prepare for announcement

Javier Pereira will not be joining Slavisa Jokanovic at Sheffield United, sources close to the Spaniard claimed last night, despite being granted “indefinite leave” status by the UK’s immigration authorities.
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But Jokanovic does plan to make additions to his backroom staff later this week, with two of the Serb’s most closest confidants already thought to be in the city as they finalise details of their contracts with the Championship club.

One is thought to be fitness coach Rafael Cristobal, although that has yet to be confirmed as United look to keep the duo’s identities a secret until official announcements are made. Vacancies for an assistant manager and goalkeeping coach also exist, with Matt Duke stepping-up from his role with the academy under caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom towards the end of last term.

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Alan Knill, who served as Chris Wilder’s number two before the 53-year-old’s departure in March, remained on the payroll despite rejecting an offer to take-up a position as director of football.

“I am close to bringing in staff, but I prefer it that they sign a contract with the club before talking about them,” Jokanovic said. “Monday will, we hope, be one guy. Tuesday, probably the other but we’ll see.”

“It’s not a secret,” he added. “They are here and in the city but not working here yet.”

Pereira, who has spent the past 10 months in charge of Chinese club Henan Songshan Longmen, fuelled speculation he could be set for a return to England before Jokanovic’s official unveiling last week; using his social media account to reveal he had received permission to live and work in Great Britain indefinitely.

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“Let me share with all of my pride the positive news that I’ve been granted ‘indefinite leave’ status in the UK,” Pereira, aged 55, wrote. “Thank you UK Gov for being so my work experience in the UK can carry on in the future.”

Slavisa Jokanovic at Bramall LaneSlavisa Jokanovic at Bramall Lane
Slavisa Jokanovic at Bramall Lane

The Spaniard worked with Jokanovic at Watford and Fulham, helping him achieve promotion from the Championship with both, before heading to the Far East at the start of last season after leaving Craven Cottage.