West Ham could land one of their reported summer transfer targets for a lot less than first expected…
According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic has been offered to the Irons but they could face competition from Serie A rivals Juventus.
It’s claimed that the 23-year-old defender will not renew his contract in Florence as he enters the final 12 months of his current contract, meaning the club will likely be forced into selling him this window.
They are currently asking for between €15m (£12.8m) and €20m (£18m) but that could decrease considerably as we head closer towards the new campaign as they don’t want to risk losing him for free, with Milenkovic able to discuss terms with other clubs about a free transfer in January 2022.
At one stage, his price tag was reportedly around €35m (£30m).
The Hammers’ interest in the Serbian powerhouse was confirmed by the ever-reliable ExWHUemployee on this week’s ‘The West Ham Way’ podcast, where he said:
“The latest is a guy called Milenkovic from Fiorentina. There is interest in him, but I don’t think they’ve put any concrete offer in for him at all, but he is on the potential radar.”
If this latest development is to be believed, then it’s time for GSB to put in that concrete offer, otherwise they’ll risk Juventus coming in and swooping him from their grasp.
It’s thought that David Moyes sees the addition of a new central defender as a big priority, as per Football Insider, who also suggest that the club’s hierarchy have set aside funds to do so.
At less than £20m, Milenkovic seems like an ideal candidate to sign this summer.
He may not have played outside of Italy or his home country but comparisons to a Premier League great suggests that he could well fit right in.
“Milenkovic is better than Vidic with the ball at his feet, and he is much calmer on the field,” Mozzart journalist Dejan Stankovic told ESPN FC. “He is the most talented centre-back Serbia have had since Vidic, and they definitely have one thing in common – both are fearless.”
Former Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic has also likened the Fiorentina star to the Manchester United legend, whilst his ex-manager at Partizan, Ivan Tomic, believes he “has [the] physical characteristics of a beast.”
Standing at a whopping 6 foot 5, Milenkovic certainly offers the physical presence to be a nuisance to many a top-flight attack and that’s backed up by the fact that he averaged three aerial duels won per game in 2020/21.
Furthermore, Milenkovic also averaged 3.6 clearances, 1.4 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per league outing, only further bolstering his claims of being an all-round animal at the back.
After this exciting update, Moyes and co would be foolish to not try and sign the Serbia international.