As per Calciomercato, it appears that West Ham United are eyeing a 2022 summer swoop early as news emerges on Fiorentina powerhouse Nikola Milenkovic.
The Lowdown: West Ham talks break down…
Before the signing of former Chelsea defender and Champions League winner Kurt Zouma in a £29.8m deal, West Ham were heavily tipped to sign another centre-back.
Should West Ham sign Nikola Milenkovic?
Yes, perfect Ogbonna replacement
No, don't need another defender
Indeed, the name once favoured with a London Stadium move to that effect was Milenkovic, with The Daily Express reporting of advanced talks to sign the player by David Moyes.
There were suggestions that the Serbia international’s bags were packed with a West Ham move imminent, but after the move broke down, he ended up putting pen to paper on a contract extension with La Viola instead, keeping him at Fiorentina until 2023.
The Serie A club risked losing him as a free agent next year and promptly bought themselves some time to make money off his sale.
Despite the signing of Zouma, a twist has now emerged as West Ham continue to monitor the colossal 6 foot 4 defender.
The Latest: West Ham ‘ready to seize’ Milenkovic opportunity…
According to Calciomercato, West Ham are among the clubs ‘ready to seize the opportunity’ to take Milenkovic at a ‘sale price’ next summer.
It is believed that the Hammers, as well as Tottenham, Inter Milan and Juventus, ‘remain attentive’ to the 24-year-old’s situation at Fiorentina, with the last word on his future ‘yet to be told’.
The Verdict: Good option?
As Angelo Ogbonna’s contract winds down at the London Stadium with still no extension announced, we believe Milenkovic could be one of the candidates to replace the Italian if he does leave at the end of this season.
When compared to the 33-year-old, the Serbian eclipsed most of Ogbonna’s defensive statistics from last term, averaging a higher rate of tackles, interceptions and aerial duels won per game, according to WhoScored.
Furthermore, Spanish defender Pol Lirola lavished the towering Milenkovic as ‘extraordinary‘, and signing him at a ‘sale price’ to succeed Ogbonna would be a very shrewd bit of business from West Ham.
However, amid all the competition for his services, Irons recruitment chief Rob Newman may have to pull out all the stops to bring him to the London Stadium.
In other news: Journalist hints that West Ham move for ‘world class’ 32-goal striker could now be on the cards, find out more here
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