Sheffield United transfer news: What the Blades need to do ahead of window deadline

THE season may be less than a month old, but it is already crunch time for Sheffield United.

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

A wretched start to the 2021-22 Championship campaign has reinforced the pressing need for some major transfer business. Time is not on the Blades' side with the clock ticking ahead of Tuesday night's deadline as the South Yorkshire outfit seek to find late answers to a summer which has been anything but smooth.

Referencing the need for new signings, a clearly frustrated Slavisa Jokanovic, speaking after his side's underwhelming draw at Luton and delivering a pointed message to his superiors after the Blades' search for a first second-tier win of the campaign was extended - said: "We must sign people.

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"We must stick with the strategy, the plan and what was promised to be before I arrive at this club.

“If we were so good, there would not be a problem. We talked about four players and then that became five with one person leaving.

“This was not my plan. This was the board’s plan and I accepted it.”

So, ideally, Jokanovic would like to bring in 'four or five' new players. But where?

One obvious priority is in goal following Aaron Ramsdale's £26m departure to Arsenal with Wes Foderingham and Michael Verrips yet to overly convince.

The club have reportedly opened talks with former Manchester City and Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero, 39, who is a free agent.

The Blades' top target in QPR custodian Seny Dieng - who once had a loan spell at Doncaster - is said to be too expensive.

In midfield, United - who saw a deal for Ronaldo Vieira collapse amid concerns about the Sampdoria midfielder’s fitness and conditioning - need an energy boost and some renewed creativity, with their link with former Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane - at Aston Villa - one that will be enthuse and potentially pacify supporters.

A back-up option remains in Algerian international Adlene Guedioura, who has been training with the club, having previously worked with Jokanovic at Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa. Given the fact he turns 36, in November, Guedioura is most definitely viewed as cover and a short-term signing.

Up front, United also need another option, while the futures of some forwards at the club remains uncertain.

Oli Burke is wanted on loan by Neil Warnock at Middlesbrough, while Daniel Jebbison is reportedly on the radar of several top-flight clubs, including Everton and Southampton - although the Blades would prefer to loan out the teenager to aid his longer-term development.

The likes of Sunderland and Burton are keen.

There is also speculation that record signing Rhian Brewster could be allowed to leave if the right option comes in. The 21-year-old has had a nightmare time at Bramall Lane.

On the prospect of incoming business, Jokanovic commented at the weekend: “Yes, I am still expecting things to happen. I am told we are making progress and so we will see. Initially we were talking numbers but, for the past few months, we have been talking about names.

“If we don’t do (signings) we are not serious enough for the job.”