Nikola Milenkovic is on Tottenham Hotspur’s transfer radar ahead of the summer transfer window…
According to football.london reporter Alasdair Gold, Spurs are making the arrival of a central defensive leader their top priority when the window reopens, and the 23-year-old Fiorentina star is among their targets.
His contract is set to expire 12 months after the current season ends, meaning the Serie A outfit would have to cash in if they are to make any money on his signature.
Gold also claims that, despite Tottenham having the third-best defensive record in the Premier League, there has been a clear lack of cohesion and leadership at the back.
Spurs have dropped 13 points from a winning position, with individual defensive mistakes clearly a major problem, and this is where Milenkovic could be the solution.
Much of Tottenham’s defensive record may well be attributed to the arrival of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who has been a rock-solid presence in front of Mourinho’s ever-changing backline.
Of all of Mourinho’s regular starters (20 or more starts), he leads the squad for tackles (2.8) and interceptions (1.3) per game, proving to be an industrious workhorse and contributing far more to stopping the opposition compared to the likes of Eric Dier, who has started the most matches of any centre-back in the league. He has managed only 0.8 tackles and 0.9 interceptions, via WhoScored.
At 6 foot 5, Milenkovic has drawn comparisons to arguably one of the greatest defenders to grace the English top flight in Nemanja Vidic.
“Milenkovic is better than Vidic with the ball at his feet, and he is much calmer on the field,” said Mozzart journalist Dejan Stankovic to ESPN. “He is the most talented centre-back Serbia have had since Vidic, and they definitely have one thing in common – both are fearless.”
If Spurs want a colossal presence to lead them out from the back, then they shouldn’t look much further than the Fiorentina titan.
Only Franck Ribery has performed better in Serie A for them this season, with the Serbian recording an average WhoScored rating of 6.83. In terms of key defensive attributes, he is performing exceedingly well too, managing 1.4 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 3.5 clearances per game.
This shows that, despite his towering height, he’s an equally hard man to defeat on the ground – just as much as in the air – and he clearly has a great ability to read the game and then snuff out any danger.
That is something his former Partizan boss Ivan Tomic has pointed out before, as he said: “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.”
Daniel Levy ought to swoop this summer if he is to vastly improve Spurs’ defence, and in doing so, he could begin to create a dream spine for several years.
Milenkovic would be a fine addition to Spurs.