Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic has devised a two-part plan to persuade 23-year-old goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to stay at the club, with the duo set for talks after the European Championships end.
When the final 26-man England squad for this year’s international tournament was announced, Ramsdale looked set to stay with the Blades after being pipped to the post by West Brom stopper Sam Johnstone.
However, Manchester United’s Dean Henderson was forced to pull out with a hip issue after the Three Lions’ first game against Croatia, and with the Sheffield United man making the provisional squad in place of the injured Nick Pope, Jokanovic and his coaching staff have been without the Englishman since the start of pre-season.
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At this moment in time, former Rangers keeper Wes Foderingham and Dutchman Michael Verrips are the South Yorkshire side’s only viable options in goal with Ramsdale away with England and Simon Moore being released in the summer, but this department shouldn’t become too much of a problem after the 23-year-old’s return.
According to the Sheffield Star, a virtual meeting is due to be held between the new Blades manager and his star goalkeeper after the European Championships, and the Serbian aims to say two things to keep him at the club.
Firstly, Jokanovic will stress how important he thinks Ramsdale is to the team as the club aim for promotion straight back to the Premier League, with the stopper being one of Sheffield United’s best players towards the end of last season.
And, as per the same outlet, the boss is even prepared to share some of the Blades’ current transfer targets if he thinks Ramsdale could be tempted by a move to the top flight this summer, with Football League World previously revealing that Arsenal are interested.
However, the goalkeeper is said to be committed to the cause anyway after only re-joining Sheffield United last summer – and is likely to start against former side AFC Bournemouth as the Championship rivals compete for promotion.
With Gareth Southgate banning players from discussing their domestic futures, this has put Slavisa Jokanovic in a difficult situation with one of his best players, but the goalkeeper’s reported commitment to the club will be music to the Serbian’s ears.
From Sheffield United’s point of view, this decision to tackle Ramsdale’s transfer speculation directly will be seen as a good move and this clarity will be useful as the club enters a very important season in their history.
This plan can only boost his star player’s chances of staying further.
And you can tell how desperate Jokanovic is to keep him by his tone towards the 23-year-old – and it’s such a contrast from the comments he made about Kean Bryan as the defender’s future remains uncertain.