The Wolverhampton Wanderers centre-half, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, has already been the subject of a £1m bid by the League One club although officials at Molineux immediately turned it down.
Aware that Sanderson would prefer a move to the Championship rather than League One, United will only revise their plan to allow Jokanovic to assess the options at his disposal in the flesh before approving any in-coming deals if a rival second tier club makes an approach.
Although strengthening their midfield is United’s priority during this summer’s transfer window, Jokanovic also wants to bolster the defence he will inherit on July 1 following Phil Jagielka’s departure. The former England international was allowed to leave South Yorkshire when his deal expired at the end of last season, while there is no guarantee that Jack O’Connell, who underwent knee surgery in September, will be fit to start the new campaign.
With Kean Bryan also yet to decide if he will accept United’s invitation to sign a new contract, United have been monitoring Sanderson’s progress for around 12 months. Paul Mitchell, their head of recruitment, compiled a detailed dossier on his strengths, weaknesses and potential for improvement before Jokanovic was confirmed in post. Aged 21, Sanderson also possesses experience of the Championship having previously spent time with Cardiff City earlier in his career.
Wolves are thought to value Sanderson at more than double than the amount Sunderland proposed paying during talks with the Molineux hierarchy earlier this week.
Although Lee Johnson’s side are almost certain to return to the negotiating table, a move to South Yorkshire would appear to be a more desirable option for Sanderson and his representatives.
United’s first team squad are scheduled to report back for training next week, with Jokanovic arriving shortly after when his agreement with Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa ends. They will then establish a temporary base outside of the county, before returning to the Steelphalt Academy to conclude their preparations for the forthcoming campaign.