Manchester United will have to battle European heavyweights Bayern Munich for the signing of Serbian defender Nikola Milenkovic.

As per a report from Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Calciomercato), German champions Bayern Munich have joined Premier League giants Manchester United in the race to sign Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wanted a new centre-half all summer but the club failed to acquire any of the Portuguese’s targets. The Red Devils have made a torrid start to the ongoing campaign as they sit in tenth spot on the Premier League table, having let in 16 goals in nine games.

Apart from Chris Smalling to a certain extent, none of the other centre-backs on United’s books have managaed to look convincing. Eric Bailly seems to have fallen out of favour under Mourinho, while Victor Lindelof is yet to adapt to English football and Phil Jones continues to struggle with injury issues.

As a result, the Mancunian outfit are intent on bringing in defensive reinforcements in the January window. A lot of names have been linked with a move to Manchester United, ranging from Real Madrid superstar Raphael Varane to AC Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. And now, the 20-time English champions are understood to be monitoring Milenkovic.

The 21-year-old is a product of the Partizan Belgrade youth setup and moved to Fiorentina in the summer of 2017. Since then, he has gone on to establish himself as a mainstay at the back for the Viola. Milenkovic hasn’t missed a single minute of Serie A action this term, scoring 2 goals in his nine games.

Milenkovic has already gone on to make eight appearances for the national team, having made his debut only in June earlier this year. While his appearances this term for Fiorentina have all come as a right-back, the Serbian international is primarily a central defender, blessed with good pace and technical ability, while possessing maturity beyond his age.

Man in demand (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Man in demand (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Valued at €50 million by Fiorentina, the 21-year-old fits into the profile of defenders that Manchester United are looking at. However, they are not alone in wanting to sign Milenkovic in January, with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich also strongly interested.

Bayern have had to endure a tough start to the season by their usual standards, under new manager Niko Kovac. The Bavarian outfit are just two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund in the standings, but have been unconvincing on a number of occasions this term, with their defence not performing up to their usual standards.

Jerome Boateng’s issues are well-documented after a forgettable World Cup in the summer, while Mats Hummels has also been uncharacteristically poor this term. And, Die Roten are keen on landing Milenkovic as a long-term partner for the 23-year-old Niklas Sule.

To that end, Bayern Munich are believed to have already established contact with Fiorentina in order to enquire Milenkovic’s availability in the January transfer window.

With Bayern already making an approach for the Serbian international, Manchester United find themselves on the back-foot in their pursuit of the defender. It remains to be seen, however, if they are able to convince Milenkovic to move to Old Trafford in January, or if he ends up joining the German champions.