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West Ham want World Cup star Nikola Milenkovic

West Ham United could return to sign a European talent who has starred in Qatar…

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As per Italian outlet Firenzeviola.it, the Hammers are expected to revive their interest in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic after a failed summer move.

The 25-year-old has excelled in Italy, but with a £91k-per-week contract tying him down until 2027, the fee demanded will likely be high.

This transfer turnaround comes following Kurt Zouma’s knee surgery, which will likely see him side-lined for the foreseeable future.

He has starred at the World Cup

Despite having crashed out in the group stages of the competition, Milenkovic still remained a solid option at the back for Serbia.

Maintaining an admirable 6.87 average rating across his three games, his performances were not too dissimilar to the imperious displays that likely first earned him the Irons’ interest.

Across the Serie A this season his rating has increased to 7.07.

During the World Cup, he averaged 2.0 interceptions, 3.3 tackles and 3.0 clearances per game, as well as maintaining an 88% pass accuracy, via Sofascore.

Should this form continue, he can more than make up for the absence of Zouma, who conversely ranks lower in all of the aforementioned statistics except for his mammoth 4.8 clearances.

What will likely further entice David Moyes to this purchase is the defender’s aerial prowess, of which he ranks in the top 10% compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues. This has led to him scoring twice and assisting once this season, despite having played just 11 league games.

Upon bursting onto the scene, the defender unsurprisingly drew comparisons with his legendary compatriot Nemanja Vidic.

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West Ham's Declan Rice

When was the last time West Ham had an England player go to a World Cup?

His former coach Ivan Tomic first said of him: “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”.

He would then have this statement verified by Dejan Stankovic, whose praise reached new levels as he spoke to ESPN FC: “Milenkovic is better than Vidic with the ball at his feet. He is the most talented centre-back Serbia have had since Vidic, and they definitely have one thing in common — both are fearless.”

Such sensational words combined with his fine World Cup performances will likely have Moyes reeling at the prospect of luring him, and given the timing of the injury they could end up with an upgrade on their hulking French defender.