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Paul Heckingbottom gives Arsenal ‘bid’ for Sander Berge short shrift

Sheffield United caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom has brushed off transfer talk surrounding Sander Berge and says Arsenal are yet to make a bid for the player.

The Gunners looked to have taken the initiative on Monday when French outlet Jeunes Footeux claimed Arsenal has launched an opening offer worth €20m (£17.2m) for Berge. The report went on to claim that the Blades would reject the money for the Norway star, despite being aware he wants to leave. Instead United want an offer worth €30m (£25.8m) to tempt them to sell.

Sheffield United, who have been relegated back into the Championship, will resist all offers that are put on the table below that fee. That’s because former club Genk are owed a 20% sell-on clause as part of the £22m deal that took Berge to South Yorkshire.

However, according to Heckingbottom, who is in the running to succeed Chris Wilder on a permanent basis, there has not been an official bid for Berge.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle United, he said: “No, no offers. We know how things work.

“If there is anything happening for our players it’s bubbling away behind the scenes until windows open and things can possibly happen, but it is all paper talk.

“Most of the questions you get asked about possible targets never ever comes to fruition.

“Ninety-odd percent of it will never surface. At the minute it is all just rumour and speculation. We’ve had no bids for our players.”

Berge has started 13 Premier League games this season and has been ruled out of the last two games due to “niggle”.

Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa have also been mentioned as suitors for Berge.

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Jokanovic the target for Blades

Meanwhile, Slavisa Jokanovic has emerged as United’s first choice to become their new manager but will only sign if he is backed in the transfer market, TEAMtalk can reveal.

The former Fulham and Watford boss is currently managing in Qatar and he guided Al-Gharafa to a fourth-placed finish, which gained them entry to the Asian Champions League. Jokanovic is still highly thought of in England after the jobs he did at Craven Cottage and Vicarage Road.

Having had talks with the  52-year-old, the Blades now believe he is the man to succeed Chris Wilder and take them straight back to the Premier League.

We understand that Jokanovic is now considering his options, as he is intrigued by the prospect of taking charge at Bramall Lane.

However, he wants assurances about being given financial backing to take Sheffield United back up at the first time of asking.

READ MORE: Heckingbottom hails ‘best defensive display’ as Sheff Utd restore some pride


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