In a recent print edition, Corriere dello Sport mentioned that West Ham United are eyeing a move for Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic this summer. However, it is understood that the Hammers could face competition from Liverpool in the race to acquire the signature of the Serbian talent during this summer transfer period (transcripted and translated by Sport Witness).
Milenkovic’s Solid Campaign At The Stadio Artemio Franchi
Milenkovic managed to establish himself as a commanding presence at the heart of the Fiorentina backline last season. The 23-year-old registered three goals and one assist in 37 matches for the Florence-based outfit in the previous campaign across all competitions.
The Belgrad-born defensive ace was a consistent performer on the defensive end of the field after he averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 3.6 clearances per 90 minutes in the 2020-21 Serie A season. The Serbian centre-half even distributed the ball with conviction because he completed 86% of his attempted passes in the top tier of Italian football (stats via whoscored).
Milenkovic is enjoying his football at the moment, so he would be a good addition to the Hammers squad ahead of the new campaign. At 23, he is good enough to earn a regular first-team place at the London Stadium and could go on to become a top performer for them in English football.
What Will Milenkovic Add To David Moyes’ Side?
Milenkovic has proven himself to be a reliable defender at the back as he can sense the danger quickly that helps him pull off some timely interceptions for his team. He doesn’t take too many risks with his clearances and is usually an accurate passer of the ball. The Serie A powerhouse is primarily a central defender but can also operate as a right-back if required.
The 28-time Serbia international can use his strong 1.95m frame to win a lot of aerial duels for his team as he can often outmuscle the opposition attackers to come away with the ball inside his half. He can even be a threat from dead-ball situations because of his incredible strength and leaping ability.
Hence, Milenkovic will be a shrewd acquisition for the Hammers this summer as he will add a lot of bite and steel to their backline. The Serbian sensation has what it takes to offer some healthy competition for Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson in the race to secure a regular starting spot at the London Stadium in the coming seasons.
Therefore, Moyes would be wise to orchestrate a move to bring Milenkovic to the English capital before the end of this transfer window as he could help the East London outfit challenge for a major trophy over the next few years.