Why new Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic is scheduled to attend a number of Euro 2021 matches in person
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, plans to attend a number of matches during the European Championships in order to identify potential transfer targets and expand his contacts overseas.
The Serb, who will officially take charge at Bramall Lane next month, will deliberately eschew high-profile fixtures between the tournament’s biggest names - preferring to focus on countries whose players would be amenable to joining clubs in England’s second tier.
Although the majority of Jokanovic’s recruitment is expected to come from within the domestic game, the 52-year-old is prepared to take a more global approach towards talent-spotting than the one adopted by his most recent predecessors at Bramall Lane.
Midfield, with Sander Berge expected to follow John Lundstram through the exit door, is a priority position for United this summer while Jokanovic also wants to be in a position to act quickly if others are lured away by Premier League sides following his employer’s demotion last term.
Despite planning to make minor adjustments to the squad he inherited after agreeing to replace Chris Wilder rather than orchestrate a wholesale makeover, the former Fulham and Watford chief has already pinpointed a lack of physical power and genuine pace as potential weaknesses in United’s armoury next season.
Jokanovic is expected to look beyond the confines of South Yorkshire for solutions, using graduates of the Steelphalt Academy youth programme to supplement his options following the emergence of another promising crop of youngsters under both Wilder and caretaker Paul Heckingbottom.
Several of those, including Femi Seriki and Antwoine Hackford, are likely to be sent out on loan to continue their development. But Daniel Jebbison and Iliman Ndiaye, providing his contractual issues are resolved, are in line to be handed more prominent roles if they impress during training when United report back for duty shortly.
United have two representatives in the competition, with John Fleck being called-up by Scotland and Rhs Norrington-Davies being named in the Wales squad despite still waiting to make a senior appearance for his parent club. Oli McBurnie would have joined Fleck among Steve Clarke’s selections, but has been ruled-out with a foot injury.