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Nikola Milenkovic: Better value in the centre-back market for Manchester United

by Shane Healy

Manchester United centre-back target, Nikola Milenkovic is refusing to sign a new contract with his club Fiorentina.

His current deal ends in 2022 and according to Serbian media, due to the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Italian club have now reduced their asking price for the 23 year-old.

It is now believed that Fiorentina would accept around £22 million but may also seek to have a player swap included in such a deal.

This requested figure has been reduced by Fiorentina from £35 million.

Man United won’t have a free-run at the six foot, four inch tall defender however, as, according to The Sun, both West Ham United and Chelsea are also interested.

Man United also hold a strong interest in Real Madrid and France centre-back, Raphael Varane, and he may be the Reds first priority, but if reports are to be believed, that the Spanish club rejected an offer of around £40 million from United, perhaps United may see better value in the market with the Serbian.

Aerially, Milenkovic is strong. On average per 90 minutes last season, he won 3.1 aerial duels.

In Serie A, he managed 3.6 clearances per game and his physical strength would likely be an upgrade on Victor Lindelof for Man United. Milenkovic has been compared to fellow Serbian and former United great, Nemanja Vidic.

Lindelof, however, might edge it in passing ability.

Fiorentina signed Milenkovic from Partizan in 2017 for £4 million and he has gone on to become a regular for them while developing into one of the Italian league’s best defenders.

With the European Championships in-play, United’s transfer negotiations may have stalled. Varane’s France are expected to go far.

But if United wait, they could potentially miss out on both targets, with other clubs interested too.

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