Slavisa Jokanovic has dropped an update on the future of Sheffield United defensive midfielder Sander Berge.
In recent comments cited by The Sheffield Star, the 52-year-old revealed that the reason for the midfielder’s absence from Saturday’s recent friendly with Europa Point was due to a minor injury, rather than the 23-year-old being close to securing a move away from Bramall Lane this summer.
The report went on to mention both Arsenal and Napoli’s interest in a move for the Norway international in the summer transfer window, however, Jokanovic made it clear that his desire is to keep Berge at the club ahead of the Blades’ upcoming Championship campaign.
The Serbian manager said: “I know the situation with Sander. There is a possibility that he will be one guy who leaves, but I hope this doesn’t happen.
“But the club informed me about this for a reason, so that we can be ready if that does happen. If it doesn’t, then of course that will be good for us too.
“Sander has a minor [injury] problem. I stress, a minor one. That is why he wasn’t with us. He is with the medical people but it is nothing serious. That is what he is working on at the moment and he will be okay soon.”
With the general feeling that Berge’s departure from Sheffield United this summer is practically a forgone conclusion, Jokanovic’s recent show of fight regarding the player’s future, as well as the club reported to be holding firm on their £35m asking price in order to sanction the 23-year-old’s sale, is sure to have left Blades fans buzzing.
Indeed, over his 14 Premier League appearances in his first season at Bramall Lane, the £16.2m-rated man highly impressed for United, making an average of 0.7 interceptions, 1.6 tackles and winning 5.5 duels per game.
The £38k-per-week defensive midfielder also chipped in for his side in an attacking capacity, scoring one goal, registering one assist and creating one big chance for his teammates, as well as making an average of 0.9 key passes per league appearance.
These returns saw the man Chris Wilder dubbed an “outstanding” player earn an average SofaScore match rating of 6.90, ranking him as the club’s seventh-best performer in the top flight of English football that season.
As such, while the Norwegian’s second season at the club was heavily impacted by injury, if the club can indeed keep hold of the midfielder this summer, and he subsequently goes on to refind his form from 2019/20 in the Championship next term, it would undoubtedly provide Jokanovic’s side with a significant boost to their chances of going on and securing an immediate return to the Premier League, an outcome that would delight everyone involved with the club.
Either way, the Blades look like they’ll either have a quality player like Berge next summer or they’ll receive a big fee to use on a replacement. That’s great news for the club’s fans.