Arsenal and Inter Milan are reportedly set to go head-to-head in pursuit of Napoli defender Nikola Maksimovic in January
According to a report in Italian publication Football Italia, Nikola Maksimovic is on the radars of Arsenal and Inter Milan. The two European heavyweights are set to spark a transfer battle for the Napoli defender in the winter transfer window.
Maksimovic has seen his career stutter considerably since he joined Napoli from Torino last summer. Initially moving to San Paolo on a season-long loan, the player managed just 12 appearances across all competitions last term.
Despite Maksimovic not being a regular for the club last season, Napoli were obliged to sign him on a permanent deal, shelling out €25 million to do so. However, the Serb continues to remain a bit-part player at the early stages of the season, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Raul Albiol being the first-choice central defenders.
Therefore, with his career heading nowhere at Napoli, the player is likely to seek a move away from San Paolo in order to get back on track. And, two clubs are set to hand Maksimovic a lifeline by seeking a January move for him – Arsenal and Inter Milan.
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At the Emirates, Calum Chambers seems to be resurrecting his Arsenal career, while Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny are going strong in the back-three as well. Additionally, Rob Holding is one for the future, having kicked off his stint at Arsenal in promising fashion.
However, Per Mertesacker is set to call time at his career at the end of the season, while Shkodran Mustafi’s future is uncertain, after nearly departing from the Emirates in the summer. Therefore, Maksimovic is a viable target for the Gunners.
However, Inter Milan are in the race to sign the player as well, with the Nerazzurri aiming to continue rebuilding their squad in the winter transfer window. Miranda and Milan Skriniar are the current first-choice options for Luciano Spalletti.
But, with Miranda on the wrong side of 30, Maksimovic could potentially be a long-term replacement at San Siro, although he might have to bide his time initially. The 25-year-old is likely to be open to moving to either club as both could give him a chance to kickstart his career.
However, with a little over four years still left to run on his current contract with Napoli, the player could cost a sizable amount. It now remains to be seen if either Arsenal or Inter Milan make any progress in their pursuit of Maksimovic and succeed in landing him in January.