Opinion: Where Slavisa Jokanovic needs to strengthen at Sheffield United in January to make promotion push a reality | OneFootball
Opinion: Where Slavisa Jokanovic needs to strengthen at Sheffield United in January to make promotion push a reality
Football League World
Sheffield United’s momentum was halted by back to back defeats going into the international break.
The Blades had really got going in between the first and second breaks but losses at Middlesbrough and Bournemouth have them back at the drawing board in preparation for their hosting of Stoke City on Saturday.
With the January transfer window now fast approaching teams will be starting to identify targets and plan their business. United left it very late in the summer and will not want a repeat of that especially if they lose Morgan Gibbs-White back to his parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers.
There are some weighty financial assets in the playing squad at Bramall Lane and teams across Europe will likely be monitoring the talents of Sander Berge, who is currently ruled out with a hamstring injury, and youngster Iliman Ndiaye.
Looking ahead, there are two key areas of the pitch where the Blades need to strengthen if they are to make a promotion push a reality in the second half of the season…
John Egan and Ben Davies can sleep easy at night knowing that they are Jokanovic’s first choice centre backs. Such that should not be the case in a healthy squad, with Jack O’Connell’s long term injury and Chris Basham’s fading talents the Blades could do with signing another centre back.
They strengthened a direct rival in West Bromwich Albion by not giving Kean Bryan a new contract this summer and with Ben Davies on loan from Liverpool, in terms of long term planning bringing in a new defender would be a smart move.
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The squad still looks as if it is built for a wing back formation without wingers, Morgan Gibbs-White and Ben Osborn have performed well in wide areas but they are not specialists.
Manchester United youngster Anthony Elanga could take them some way to addressing these issues but adding to an already large contingent of loan will just delay their problems until the end of the season.
35-year-old skipper Billy Sharp has done an excellent job running the channels so far this season but it is unclear whether that is sustainable at his age. United have the parachute payments at their disposal to invest in a quality winger for the level in January to give them a fighting chance of pushing for promotion.