As news continues to gather pace around Slavisa Jokanovic and the Sheffield United job, it’s worth considering a few things.
One of those things is who the Serbian might look to bring in. Spells with Fulham and Watford in England have proved successful for Jokanovic. It goes without saying, then, that United’s board should back him.
The second item on the agenda for United fans is how we might line up under the guidance of Jokanovic. It is believed that initial criteria the board set out to have someone play the 3-5-2 formation is now not a priority.
Instead, the United higher-ups want someone proven at working with young talent. They also want a manager capable of embracing a clear way of working, while also being open to suggestions in the transfer market.
But how has Jokanovic operated before? And could we yet see the 3-5-2 formation stick around for some time? We’ve had a look into how he operated at Fulham and Watford to find out.
News of Jokanovic should have Sheffield United fans excited
It’s easy to forget that we are going back more than six seasons when we look at Jokanovic’s spell with Watford. Bizarrely, he was the fourth manager Watford had that season. The Serb managed 36 games, winning 21, and drawing a further five as he helped the Hornets win promotion.
Interestingly, it was at Watford where Jokanovic used the 3-5-2, making use of the likes of Ighalo, Vydra and Deeney in rotation up top, while ex-Sheffield Wednesday man Almen Abdi was crucial as a number ten.
But that doesn’t mean Jokanovic is stuck in his ways. Far from it, in fact.
Fulham and the 4-3-3
At Fulham, most of us will remember the exciting team he had that season, with 5-4 at Bramall Lane probably in a lot of Blades fans’ minds. But the Cottagers opted for a 4-3-3- that season, built around a midfield three containing current Blade, Ollie Norwood.
Crucial to that Fulham side was pace out wide. Jokanovic was blessed with Ryan Sessegnon, Sheyi Ojo, and Floyd Ayite. He also had Aboubakar Kamara as a fourth option, while Tom Cairney and Kevin McDonald compliment Norwood in midfield.
This current United squad simply doesn’t have the players to play that exciting 4-3-3. It would require an overhaul of the front players. In fact, despite having six strikers on the books, it’s likely we’d only need three, and that’s before Jokanovic signed one of his own.
Getting players who can play those wide attacking roles would be vital. The midfield three would be fine. Fleck, Norwood, plus a new signing or even Ben Osborn would manage. As would a back four with a bit of tweaking.
It’s worth noting, too, that Jokanovic’s Watford and Fulham sides knew where the net was. 91 and 79 goals in their respective seasons, proving this is a manager who likes to attack.
Interestingly for Blades fans here, it shows Jokanovic is capable of adapting and playing to strengths. And with the ways of Chris Wilder so embedded at the club, that could be vital if Jokanovic takes the job.