Slavisa Jokanovic will be on the hunt for acquisitions as the new manager of Sheffield United – and there’s already been several links been talked about.
Players who the Serb has managed in the past have been pinpointed as potential summer signings – the likes of Fulham’s Tom Cairney along with Al-Gharafa pair Jonathan Kodjia and Adlene Guedioura from Jokanovic’s most recent club have all been rumoured to be targets.
Some outgoings may need to happen to fund new recruits, with both Sander Berge and Aaron Ramsdale attracting attention from the Premier League, but on the flip side players are actually reportedly being offered to the Blades due to the riches they will have from their Premier League stint.
And Stoke City are looking to the Blades and other teams as a potential route out of the bet365 Stadium for Wales international Joe Allen, who they want to get rid of in a bid to slash their wage bill.
Allen has been a Stoke player for nearly five years now, and he’s always been a regular for them in both the Premier League and the Championship.
You’d expect a player of his experience and ability to stand out in England’s second tier, but he hasn’t quite managed to do that and Allen suffered a real setback in March 2020 when rupturing his achilles.
That will have slowed Allen down significantly as it’s a brutal injury – one that he took nine months to recover from as he returned to Stoke’s squad in December 2020.
Allen did consistently play under Michael O’Neill for three months of the season, but calf and hamstring injuries ended his season early in March but he’s now fit again as he started for Wales in their first European Championships game against Switzerland.
But is he really what the Blades and Jokanovic need? You’d have to say that he’s probably not.
In years gone by Allen could potentially be seen as a goal threat in and around the 18-yard box, but at this stage in his career he’s more comfortable as a sitting midfielder.
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United already have midfielders of that ilk with the likes of John Fleck and Oliver Norwood still on the books – what they really need is someone who is more of an attacking midfielder or could potentially specialise in the ‘number 10’ role.
They were actually linked with Allen’s team-mate Sam Clucas last week, and despite also being 31 years old Clucas did provide a massive goal threat for the Potters in 2019-20, scoring 11 times in the Championship from midfield.
So you could argue that he would be a better fit than Allen, however I think United could do far better than both. If they can find the funds for a player like Tom Cairney then the Scotland international would be a more suitable fit and for the wages that the Blades would need to pay for Allen it would not be worth it – especially when he’s not a guaranteed starter over Norwood or Fleck.