What Slavisa Jokanovic will ask Sheffield United if they look to appoint him as their new manager

Slavisa Jokanovic is expected to seek assurances that Sheffield United will grant their next manager the final say on a number of matters, including recruitment strategy and transfers, if he is invited to discuss the vacancy Chris Wilder’s departure has created at Bramall Lane.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:00 am

As The Star reported yesterday, Jokanovic is interested in the possibility of joining United after being linked with the role last weekend - although an official approach has yet to be made to his present club Al-Gharafa.

Having spent nearly two years working in the Middle East, the Serb has no intention of formally applying to become Wilder’s successor with the Qataris known to be keen on extending his stay in Doha.

But several intermediaries have let it be known that Jokanovic would welcome the prospect of exploring a possible return to England, where he has previously won promotions with Watford and Fulham.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

United have received what one source described as “numerous” applications from candidates hoping to replace Wilder, whose hugely successful reign came to an end earlier this month following a series of disagreements behind the scenes. Before his exit was announced, the former Oxford and Northampton Town chief, who steered United out of both League One and the Championship following his appointment in 2016, had started to refer to himself as “head coach” - suggesting he felt his authority over aspects of their footballing operations was being undermined.

United’s hierarchy dispute this view, reminding that owners and directors have always set the parameters within which managers work as well as pointing to the number of record transfer fees they have sanctioned since entering the top-flight.

However, after his relationship with the board at Craven Cottage became strained following a difference of opinion about new signings, Jokanovic’s representatives are likely to try and discover more about United’s power and political structure if their overtures receive a positive response.

With United bracing themselves for relegation - after losing all but six of their matches in the competition this term, they are 14 points adrift of safety with only nine matches remaining - Jokanovic’s achievements in west London and Hertfordshire could make him an attractive proposition for a team hoping to bounce back at the first attempt.

Slavisa Jokanovic is interested in the Sheffield United job: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Likewise, after publicly committing themselves to increasing the flow of talent out of the Steelphalt Academy, the fact that Jokanovic's present employers boast one of the largest youth programmes in the region.

However United, who have offered Wilder’s assistant Alan Knill a technical position on their payroll, could find it difficult to persuade Al-Gharafa to grant them permission to speak with the Serb if they decide to pursue this line of inquiry.

Jokanovic, who is once thought to have held discreet talks with Sheffield Wednesday earlier in his managerial career, has also worked at Partizan Belgrade, Levski Sofia and Maccabi Tel Aviv since retiring as a player.

Capped 64 times by Yugoslavia, he made 53 appearances for Chelsea after joining them from Deportivo La Coruna in 2000. Jokanovic also won the Serbian SuperLiga and Serbian Cup at the Partizan Stadium.

Slavisa Jokanovic is currently working in the Middle East: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

An important message: Thank you for reading this article, one of dozens we publish every single day to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative coverage of YOUR club. This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to from the football team at The Star, please consider taking out a subscription to our new discounted sports-only package. You'll find all the details at https://www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions/sports. Your support is much appreciated.

Sheffield United's hierarchy with former manager Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage