Sheffield United continue to put plans in place for a return to the Sky Bet Championship.
A two-year stay in the Premier League came to a disappointing end in 2020/21, but Slavisa Jokanovic’s appointment at Bramall Lane has lifted the spirits within the Yorkshire club and there should be genuine confidence that they are building another positive project.
Jokanovic has inherited a squad that has a strong spine that delivered promotion from the Championship under Chris Wilder, whilst there’s also the sprinkling of quality that was added in the Premier League still kicking around.
Some of those players might move on between now and the end of August, whilst Blades fans will hope that a couple of exciting signings are made.
We could, also, see the Blades make use of the free agent market, with some attractive names available.
With that in mind, we take a look at a couple Jokanovic might like the look of:
Aaron Ramsdale is an outstanding goalkeeper for Sheffield United to be carrying back into the Championship. He’s just been involved in the England squad at Euro 2020 and Football League World understand that Arsenal are keen to sign him this summer.
If Sheffield United can retain him amid that interest it will be a major coup. However, that’s a big ask given the intensity of the pursuit from North London.
In the event of Ramsdale moving on, he’s going to be replaced and Bettinelli could be a real bargain option for Jokanovic to turn to given his recent release from Fulham.
The 29-year-old was Jokanovic’s goalkeeper at Fulham when the Cottagers won promotion in 2017/18. He made 108 league appearances for the West London club during his time there.
Last year, Bettinelli was out on loan with Middlesbrough, featuring in 41 of Boro’s 46 Championship fixtures, continuing to show his quality in the second-tier.
Losing Ramsdale would obviously be disappointing, but counteracting that by bringing in Bettinelli on a free would cushion the blow and give Jokanovic a trusted pair of hands.
Harris has left local rivals, Sheffield Wednesday, on the back of their relegation into League One. 2020/21 was hardly an inspired season either for the winger, who failed to score in 38 appearances and only managed four assists.
However, he’s got promotion experience from his time with Cardiff City and has been a real menace in the Championship previously.
Jokanovic has inherited a squad shaped to play 3-5-2. That was Wilder’s favoured formation and there’s a lack of natural wide options at Bramall Lane.
There’s a chance that Jokanovic will initially continue with a variant of 3-5-2 at the start of the season, but if he switches to a similar system he used with Fulham (4-3-3) he might struggle given the lack of wingers in the squad.
Harris, then, could be a steady piece of business to just give him the option of trying something a little bit different.