Well, it certainly has been a turbulent time in the footballing world to say the least.
We had the announcement of the European Super League, and the inevitable backlash of that greedy move.
Jose Mourinho was also sacked by Tottenham Hotspur. Again, it’s rumoured that decision may have been influenced by Spurs expressing their intent to enter the ESL.
With all of that going on, the fact Sheffield United have been relegated from the Premier League has somewhat gone under the radar.
The Blades were beaten 1-0 by Wolves over the weekend, condemning them to Championship football next season.
While the Willian Jose goal on the hour mark put the final official nail in the coffin, it’s been a long time coming.
Sheffield United have been horrendous this season, sitting rock bottom on 14 points. They’ve lost 26 of their 32 games this season, bringing an end to their two year stay in the English top-flight.
The Sheffield side are another club on the search for a new permanent manager, after parting ways with Chris Wilder after five years.
Wilder significantly changed the fortune of the club. Improving the on-field culture, gaining promotion back to the Premier League and finishing ninth during the 2019/20 campaign.
However, an ever-growing rift between Wilder and owner Prince Abdullah couldn’t be mended.
Paul Heckingbottom has stepped up from his role as Sheffield United Under 23’s manager, to take charge of the senior squad until the end of the season.
Now, with a return to the Championship set in stone, it’s now time to look to next season and get a new permanent manager in at the club.
Here are some candidates we feel could be viable options.
5. Paul Heckingbottom
Let’s just get this one out of the way.
As mentioned, Paul Heckingbottom is the man in charge at Bramall Lane until the end of the season.
He’s been at the club for over a year now and has guided the U23’s to the top of their Professional Development League.
Heckingbottom has been in management since 2015, after retiring as a player in 2012.
Despite a rocky stint with Leeds United in 2018, the 43-year-old has impressed as a manager in the English Football League. Especially, with his hometown club Barnsley.
During his first season at Barnsley, Heckingbottom won the Football League Trophy, and gained promotion from League One to the Championship via the play-offs.
So, mix his good managerial record and reputation at Sheffield United, and he seems to be the perfect choice for the job.
4. Garry Monk
Things would certainly heat up in the Steel City if this appointment were to happen.
Monk’s last managerial role was at Sheffield Wednesday, the bitter cross city rivals of Sheffield United.
The 42-year-old would only be the third man ever to take charge of both United and Wednesday. The other two been Northern Ireland native Danny Wilson and Steve Bruce.
Like Heckingbottom, Garry Monk has only been in the management game since 2015. However, in that time he has took charge of four separate Championship sides.
He’s already built up a reputation within the league. While he’s never won promotion to the top tier as a manager, he could be a solid replacement for Chris Wilder ahead of the 2021/22 season.
3. Frank Lampard
Granted, this one is probably the most unlikely one to happen.
Due to his early success at Chelsea, Frank Lampard might fancy holding out for a position in the Premier League.
However, approaching Lampard would make complete sense from a Sheffield United point of view.
Lampard done his best work at Chelsea during a transfer ban period. Promoting youth players into the first team was the order of the day. He built up relationships with the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James, while showing them the trust of regular game time.
Firstly, this would be ideal for a side like Sheffield United, with a thriving underage system in place. Secondly, Chris Wilder fell out with the owner over finances.
Wilder was disappointed with the apparent lack of investment within the squad. While the owner was left unhappy with a string of unperforming signings like Rhian Brewster and Sander Berge.
So, with Prince Abdullah unwilling to overindulge in the transfer market, bringing in someone like Frank to promote the youth structure could be the best course of action.
2. Javier Pereira
The Spaniard was one of the first managers to be heavily linked with the Sheffield United role, shortly after the departure of Chris Wilder.
Pereira is currently working in China, managing Chinese Super League side, Henan Jianye.
His odds of becoming Blades boss have increased over the past several weeks. Especially, with the football season in China only kicking off.
Javier Pereira does have some sort of knowledge about England, and the standard of football in that country.
He was the assistant manager at Watford during the 2014/15 Championship season. Helping the Hornets gain automatic promotion back to the Premier League. Plus, he was the assistant at Fulham, from 2015 until 2018.
Pereira hasn’t settled in one role over the past decade or so. However, Sheffield United have shown faith in a manager during the reign of Chris Wilder. Perhaps, it could be the job he’s been holding out for.
1. Slavisa Jokanovic
Simply put, Sheffield United will need to bounce back into the Premier League straight away.
The financial uncertainty of Covid, and difficult nature of the Championship will make promotion a real battle the longer they stay down there.
Taking a risk on the likes of John Terry or bringing in a recycled Championship manager like Garry Monk or Alex Neil may not be enough to ensure a pathway back to the top of the football pyramid in England.
Jokanovic would be the sensible selection going forward, and the bookmakers would agree with that sentiment.
The 52-year-old has managed both Watford and Fulham during his career, with Javier Pereira as his assistant on both occasions.
He gained promotion to the Premier League with both sides, and he might just be the man to get Sheffield United right back to where they feel, they belong.
He’s currently the manager of Qatar side, Al-Gharafa. With only one game remaining in the Qatar Stars League, it could be the perfect opportunity for Slavisa Jokanovic to have a potential crack at the Premier League.