Sheffield United boss accepts future of Aaron Ramsdale may be out of his hands

Slavisa Jokanovic insists he and Aaron Ramsdale are both living in the real world when it comes to the goalkeeper’s Sheffield United future.

Ramsdale, who was part of England’s squad at the European Championship, has been linked with a move away with Arsenal cited as the most likely destination, following the Blades relegation to the Championship at the end of last season.

Jokanovic, who hopes to add to his squad with former Leeds United midfielder Ronaldo Vieira, says he has “zero interest” in selling the 23-year-old, but knows circumstances could force his hand. The Serb says Ramsdale “accepts” his stance on the issue.

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“I am not political with my players,” insisted the former Fulham and Watford manager. “I am really honest and I am an ex-player. I understand him perfectly and he understands my position too.

Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Picture: PA.

“I didn’t come here to sell my best players. I have zero intention of selling him but if something happens, and a Championship team like Sheffield United cannot say no (to a substantial bid), then I must accept that situation.

“If you ask would I be happy, no. I’d prefer he stayed.

“I am talking with Aaron, I explained my position. He accepted my words in a good way and I am thinking about him as my first choice.

“I knew it was a possibility (he could be sold) when I signed the contract but if it was in my hands, he would stay with us.

“But I don’t have this level of power (to reject bids). Everything is open.

“One part of the game is business. I am more a fan of the game than business but I must be a part of the business too.”

Arsenal and the Blades are said to be way apart – £10m it has been suggested – on their valuations of a player who rejoined the Bramall Lane club when Bournemouth were relegated last season but the fact Jokanovic has felt the need to have these conversations with Ramsdale suggests the possibility of him being sold cannot be written off completely.

That no player has yet been sold this summer perhaps partly explains why no one has been bought or even loaned either as the club adjusts its finances after dropping out of the world’s most lucrative league. The news that left wing-back Enda Stevens may need surgery and that striker Lys Mousset is expected to be out for a similar four-to-six-week timeframe after injuring his hamstring at home to Birmingham City last week has only increased the pressure on a squad Jokanovic admits needs refreshing.

He has spoken openly of his admiration for Sampdoria’s Vieira and hopes to loan him before the August 31 transfer deadline.

“I believe Ronaldo will soon be with us, he’s still not in the building but I hope I will start working with him after the game,” said the former Chelsea midfielder. “I need additions, these players need new team-mates and fresh blood, and the club and supporters need it too.

“New bodies in the building, we are talking about this a lot. I want to trust we will move quickly so in a few days we can be thinking about more additions.

“He is an experienced player, he knows the competition and is potentially one who can give us more power and quality. I played with all my (available senior) midfielders against Birmingham and I need some more options.

“This is a guy (in Vieira) who knows the competition (having built his reputation in the Championship with Leeds). Our expectation is high and we think he could be an important addition for us.”

Stevens missed the Republic of Ireland’s June friendlies with an osteitis-pubis injection.

“We are talking about some surgery and we’re still waiting for his comeback,” said Jokanovic.

“We are thinking he may be available during the internationals break or after it, we are thinking four or six weeks (before he can play for the first team again).”