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Slavisa Jokanovic admits Blades can’t afford to turn down Aaron Ramsdale offer

West Bromwich Albion v Sheffield United – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanovic admitted the impending £24million sale of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to Arsenal was “a huge deal for the club” and “difficult to stop” following the 4-0 loss at West Brom.

Ramsdale was withdrawn from the United squad at The Hawthorns with the deal poised to go through after the 23-year-old rejected an improved contract offer to stay at Bramall Lane.

“It’s not really what I want but it’s difficult to stop this kind of situation,” admitted Jokanovic after the defeat, which saw West Brom go top of the Sky Bet Championship.

“It’s a huge deal for the club and we have been relegated from the Premier League, so it’s complicated to say no.”

Jokanovic will now hope to be able to spend much of the fee to strengthen his squad to improve their chances of an immediate return to the Premier League after taking just one point from their first three games and failing to score.

“I can’t say how much we will invest but we will definitely need to invest some of this money on an improvement to the squad,” added the former Watford and Fulham head coach.

Michael Verrips replaced Ramsdale and endured a torrid night against West Brom’s set-piece onslaught which yielded three goals, with the Dutchman at fault for two of them.

“It was Michael’s first game in the Championship and it was not an easy night for him,” admitted Jokanovic. “They pushed us off the field.”

West Brom led in the 26th minute when Furlong’s long throw-in saw United left-back Jack Robinson head into his own goal.

Albion doubled their lead in the 47th minute when Verrips missed two chances to catch Alex Mowatt’s corner, before Dara O’Shea poked home.

Six minutes later it was 3-0 to Albion when Mowatt started and finished a delightful move, running beyond the Blades defence before coolly sidefooting past Verrips.

Callum Robinson volleyed in with 59 minutes gone after another Furlong throw-in was flicked on by Kyle Bartley.

West Brom head coach Valerien Ismael praised his players for sticking to their plan.

“I think we were really focused on the game plan. We know we could have scored at any time and we were really strong at set-pieces,” he said.

“The first part of the game plan was to frustrate the opponent and when we saw this, we had the confidence to carry on.

“We said at half-time to go for the opponent and once we got a second goal, we went for a third and once we got a third, we went for the fourth. I think we were ruthless.”

Ismael revealed Darnell Furlong’s long throw-ins are the result of lots of work on the training ground.

“We work on set-pieces with the guys – we have a special session with Adam Murray (assistant coach) and he made great goals from this with Barnsley last season and he’s doing the same this season,” he said.

“It’s all about organisation and the positions we take up in the opponents’ box to put the pressure on the ball.

“Such a weapon can open the game up for us and we need to make the most of that.”