A dark horse is emerging in the race to become Manchester United’s next centre back signing: Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic.
A number of reports in Italy, including one from calciomercato.com, claim that United are pursuing the 23-year-old and have already made contact with his agent, Fali Ramadani.
‘Manchester United want Nikola Milenkovic,’ Calciomercato claims.
‘The Serbian defender is a concrete target for Solskjaer.
‘Fiorentina plan to make €35 million [£30 million] from his sale in the summer.’
It is hard to watch the Serbian without drawing parallels with another great United centre back, Nemanja Vidic – not just because of their shared nationality, but because of their playing style.
Brazil Scout refers to Milenkovic as ‘the Serbian Beast’ and other than the fact that he plays on the right side of defence rather than the left, the similarities in temperament and technique with the United legend are clear.
That issue of his being a right-sided centre back is an interesting one, as it has been commonly reported that United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants a left-footed, left-sided defender to allow Harry Maguire to switch to his more natural right side.
However, it has also been reported that Solskjaer wants another right back to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the Serbian is equally adept in that role. So in that sense he would kill two birds with one stone if Solskjaer is willing to compromise on the right-left issue.
United have been linked with Milenkovic before, but with one year left on his contract and Fiorentina keen to cash in, now could be the perfect time for the Red Devils to make their move.
The £30 million price point will also be a point in Milenkovic’s favour, as alternative centre-back targets such as Sevilla’s Jules Kounde will be significantly more expensive.
Another factor is the Serbian’s flawless injury record. He has not missed a game through injury so far in his career.