As per Italian source Calciomercato, there has been a development in West Ham United’s hunt to sign cover for Angelo Ogbonna and it involves Nikola Milenkovic.
The Lowdown: West Ham re-join race?
Before the signing of Champions League winner Kurt Zouma in a £29.8m deal, it was strongly believed that the Fiorentina powerhouse would be on his way to east London.
Which defender should West Ham sign?
Indeed, as per other claims from Italy, the Serbia international had his suitcase ready and was one step away from signing for West Ham at one point in the summer.
However, when talks broke down, Milenkovic ended putting pen to paper on a one-year contract extension keeping him at Fiorentina until 2023.
That appeared to be that until key centre-half Angelo Ogbonna injured his ACL in a 3-2 win over Liverpool last Sunday, prompting manager David Moyes and co to ponder defensive reinforcements for the Hammers (The Evening Standard).
The Latest: Hammers ‘forcefully’ return…
As explained by Calciomercato, West Ham and Moyes ‘forcefully returned’ in a swoop for Milenkovic right after Ogbonna’s cruel blow.
However, his current club consider him ‘untransferable’ in January, thus putting a dampener on transfer chief Rob Newman’s hopes of landing the 24-year-old for Moyes.
Despite Fiorentina’s firm stance, both Roma and AC Milan remain very much in the race.
The Verdict: Blow…
Milenkovic would have been a solid and cheap alternative to Ogbonna, especially going by his numbers last season compared to West Ham’s colossal defender.
An untouchable in Moyes’ team before being sidelined, having started every Premier League game this year, he would take a lot of replacing but La Viola’s star centre-back fits the bill.
Indeed, Milenkovic outperformed Ogbonna last season in many defensive aspects – averaging a higher rate of top flight tackles, interceptions and aerial duels won per 90 over 2020/21 according to WhoScored.
However, La Viola’s hardline stance on selling him mid-season is undoubtedly a blow, and Moyes may now have to scour for other options over their 6 foot 4 beast.
In other news: ‘Huge’…Sky Sports pundit thrilled as West Ham eye ‘massive signing’ for Moyes, find out more here.
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