Manchester United and Manchester City could reportedly be set for a transfer war to sign Fiorentina’s Serbian defender Nikola Milenkovic in the summer.
According to a report from Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, as relayed by the Express, arch-rivals Manchester United and Manchester City are set to fight it out for the signing of Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic in the summer transfer window.
The 23-year-old defender has been with the Serie A outfit since 2017 and has gradually grown into one of the most promising young centre-halves in the Italian top-flight, already racking up 119 appearances. Milenkovic has missed just a couple of Serie A matches this season, contributing with a couple of goals and an assist in 20 league outings.
Milenkovic, however, is set to enter the final year of his contract with the Viola at the end of the season and has no intentions of penning an extension. As a result, the Serie A outfit are ready to cash in on him in the summer transfer window, with the Serbian likely to be available for a fee of around £30 million.
Milenkovic’s potential availability in the summer has put a number of clubs on high-alert, including Manchester United. The Red Devils’ manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, wanted to strengthen his centre-back department in the last summer window as per the report, but instead recruited players in other positions.
However, Victor Lindelof has come up short time and again while Eric Bailly continues to be plagued with fitness issues whereas Harry Maguire has also not always been consistent. And, having seen his suspect backline hurt a potential title challenge, Solskjaer is ready to bolster his defensive unit next summer, with Milenkovic emerging as a target.
The fact that he can play at right-back as well is likely to appeal to Manchester United given that they are lacking cover for first-choice option Aaron Wan-Bissaka. However, they are likely to face competition from cross-town rivals Manchester City in pursuit of the 23-year-old.
The Cityzens bolstered their defensive unit with the signings of Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias last summer. So, it does come as a bit of a surprise that Pep Guardiola is eyeing another centre-back, more so considering the resurgence that John Stones has enjoyed this season.
However, Aymeric Laporte is said to be considering his future at the club amid interest from Real Madrid. Should he end up leaving, signing someone like Milenkovic would come in handy for the Premier League leaders, who as things stand, seem to be running away with the league title.
Both Manchester United and Manchester City had their sights set on David Alaba. But, the Bayern Munich contract rebel is seemingly closing in on a transfer to Real Madrid, as per the report, forcing them to turn their attentions elsewhere. It now remains to be seen if either club does make an attempt to sign Milenkovic in the summer.