New Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic has revealed that he is thinking about how to use Sander Berge this coming season as he wants to desperately keep the Norwegian midfielder.
But he has been unable to rule out that the 23-year-old will not be sold, saying that the decision isn’t in his hands but the boards.
Berge has been linked with a move away from Bramall Lane this summer, with Arsenal and Napoli being the two most interested suitors, but the Blades will not budge on their £35 million valuation of the midfielder.
That is causing a deal to not get done right now, and Berge did not join the rest of the United squad for a pre-season training camp in Portugal this week, leading to thoughts that there’s no plans to reintroduce him to the squad.
That isn’t what Jokanovic wants though – in an ideal world he would like to build his team around Berge as the Blades look for a first-time promotion straight back to the Premier League.
And as the Championship season gets closer to starting, there’s a stronger possibility with each passing moment that the 6ft 5in man could be beginning the campaign with the Blades.
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“I expect to see him when we come back in England where I will have an opportunity to talk with him and to understand if these [reports] are true,” Jokanovic said, per the Sheffield Star.
“We will see what happens. The club advised me one month ago that the possibility exists that he might not be part of my team. I hope that will not happen.
“This player is still part of my team and I am thinking about him. I will start thinking about him in this situation if Sheffield United make a decision to sell him.
“At the moment, as we speak, he is still a Sheffield United player and I am seriously thinking about how I use him.
“If [a sale] happens tomorrow, I need to find a different solution. For this reason we need to move and be ready for this situation to happen.”
United are refusing to budge from their valuation of £35 million for Berge, and I still feel as though there will have to be a compromise when it comes to a fee in the end.
It doesn’t seem as though Berge has kicked up a fuss just yet, but the further we get into the transfer window the more desperate he may feel to get a move to the Premier League or abroad.
But last season we saw a few teams keep their best stars – Norwich had Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki, Bournemouth kept David Brooks, Watford somehow managed to keep Ismaila Sarr so it’s not a given that Berge won’t be a Blades player come September 1.
But you get the feeling that this will be a long-running saga that could eventually end on deadline day and it will leave the Blades a lot richer than they are now.