There is a ‘minimal’ distance between Fiorentina and West Ham United as they look to reach agreement on a fee for Nikola Milenkovic, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica (via Viola News).
Milenkovic played 34 Serie A games last season for Fiorentina, averaging 3.6 clearances, three successful aerial duels and 1.4 tackles per match (via WhoScored).
The Croatian’s contract has less than a year left to run, which puts his club in a somewhat weak position as he would be able to walk away for free next summer as things stand.
His team-mate Pol Lirola has hailed the 23-year-old as a player of ‘extraordinary quality’ and declared him ‘ready for a great team’.
The report from La Repubblica (via Viola News) stated that West Ham have made a €15m (£12.7m) bid, but Fiorentina value Milenkovic closer to €20m(£17m). ‘An agreement could be found’ at around the €18m (£15.3m) mark.
Encouragingly for the Irons, Fiorentina have already lined up their replacement for the Serbian, as Milenkovic’s exit would give them the ‘green light’ to sign former Manchester City defender Matija Nastastic from Schalke 04.
West Ham have needed another centre-back since Fabian Balbuena left, but if Milenkovic comes in – and the development regarding Nastasic would suggest that the Irons’ chances of getting their man have improved – he would do more than just provide squad depth.
Indeed, you could argue that he would represent an upgrade. No Hammers defender won more headers per game than him in 2020/21, while his tackling record was better than that of Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop [WhoScored].
West Ham might try to wait it out a little in the knowledge that Fiorentina are under pressure to sell, but there seems to be confidence that this deal will go through. If it does, they should then turn their attention to recruiting a much-needed centre-forward alternative to Michail Antonio.
In other news, West Ham have opened talks for this Champions League winner.
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