Sheffield United: Recruitment issues that have forced Slavisa Jokanovic and Blades apart

IT is at this time of year when the thoughts of many inescapably turn towards Christmas.

HEADING OUT? Slavisa Jokanovic is rumoured to be on his way out of Sheffield United. Picture: Simon Bellis /Sportimage

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Slavisa Jokanovic expected to leave Sheffield United after disappointing start t...

But not necessarily in the managerial world. Events just after the festive season are what they are truly interested in.

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The presents that they wish to unwrap arrive belatedly in January by way of some serious new signings in the winter transfer window to boost their chances of success in the long, hard nine-month campaign. That’s what they crave at any rate.

TENSION: Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has endured a difficult start to the 2021-22 Championship season. Picture: Simon Bellis /Sportimage

Which brings us to Slavisa Jokanovic. A serious head coach who came to Sheffield United with his designs set upon securing a third successive promotion on his decorated CV which has seen him previously enjoy considerable success at Fulham and Watford.

Amid a difficult start to his time in South Yorkshire following United’s relegation last term - where there has been a distinct hangover feel - the Serbian’s patience was tested after a super-slow summer of recruitment and tensions have risen since.

Not helped by some inconsistent results on the pitch, for sure.

Jokanovic had made no secret about the fact that the Blades must recruit more seriously, in his view, in January, if they are to be among the real movers and shakers at Championship level. And for him to truly build a side in his own image.

Late autumn is when transfer plans for January are hardened and the wheels then truly get in motion in December.

You suspect that Jokanovic did not receive the answers he was looking for when talks turned to business plans early in the New Year and a breaking point looks like it has now been reached.

United are at a crossroads. Between eras following the high-yield years under Chris Wilder, many heroes are approaching the winter of their careers, while new signings brought in during the summer of 2020 have struggled to make an impact.

There isn’t a great deal in between. If the rumours are correct, there will be no major re-investment along the way in January - which would explain Jokanovic’s angst and the intensification of the tension between board and head coach.

United’s form this season has been underwhelming. But there appear to be much wider issues regarding the long-term future of the club, with Jokanovic now likely to be the latest casualty.