According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham Hotspur have been scouting Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic…
The Italian journalist appeared on a recent ‘transfer special’ with popular Spurs YouTuber Chris Cowlin where he revealed that Spurs were among several Premier League teams that have scouted the 26-cap Serbian colossus.
After naming Eder Militao and Milan Skriniar as potential options, Romano said:
“Another interesting name is Nikola Milenkovic from Fiorentina because he’s out of contract in a year-and-a-half. He’s been scouted by a lot of English clubs and Tottenham are among those clubs sending scouts to look at this guy.
“In my opinion, he is so, so talented. [A] serious guy, a good player. Sometimes he’s also scoring goals, so he’s a good centre-back. For sure, I think that they will go for a centre-back, but we will have to see also about the budget that they could spend on this kind of player.
“For Milenkovic, it’ll be around €35m (£30m) to €40m (£36m).”
Over the last few weeks, it has become increasingly clear that Spurs boss Jose Mourinho doesn’t fancy many of his current central defensive options.
The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick revealed that the 58-year-old blamed Fulham’s late equaliser on the “individual quality” of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez earlier this month – perhaps with a hint of sarcasm – whilst it’s suggested that he’s yet to completely trust the inexperienced Joe Rodon.
‘Mourinho wants his own transformative signing, a defender who could have the same impact on Spurs as Van Dijk at Liverpool or Ruben Dias at Man City,’ wrote Kilpatrick.
Indeed, Toby Alderweireld had been snubbed for three straight league outings until last night, in which Dier was the player axed from the starting XI.
The addition of Milenkovic before the deadline tonight could give him a quickfire solution – why wait until the summer? Spurs remain in all domestic and European competitions, and they have a Carabao Cup final on the horizon.
As Romano says, the 23-year-old is an impressive talent.
He has been likened to former Premier League great Nemanja Vidic due to his aggression and “fearless” nature.
“Milenkovic has [the] physical characteristics of a beast. He reads the game well, plays the ball, and should have a great career ahead of him,” added his former mentor at Partizan, Ivan Tomic.
The 6 foot 5 titan currently ranks as La Viola’s highest-rated player (6.91), per WhoScored ratings and it’s easy to see why – on average, he is successful in 81% of his tackling attempts and a very imposing figure at the back, also managing 3.3 clearances and 3.6 aerial duels won per 90 minutes.
By comparison, only Rodon is more successful in the tackles with Dier managing a measly 0.8 attempts per 90 and similarly, no Spurs centre-back has won as many aerial duels as the towering Milenkovic, as per WhoScored.
Evidently, he’d be a valuable upgrade at the back and given the coveted interest in his services, chairman Daniel Levy ought to strike now rather than waiting for a transfer tussle in the summer when his value would undoubtedly increase from a current €30m (£26.5m) as per CIES Football Observatory.
It’s time for the club to show they are serious about their trophy ambitions with a £30m swoop for Milenkovic.
AND in other news, Spurs could find ideal Dele Alli replacement in £36m “complete midfielder”…