Fiorentina have reportedly slapped a staggering £37.5 million price tag on defensive stalwart and Newcastle United and West Ham United target Nikola Milenkovic.
A recent report from The Sun has offered an update on Newcastle United’s pursuit of Nikola Milenkovic. The Fiorentina centre-back has been identified as one of Eddie Howe’s long list of defensive targets as he looks to strengthen his options in the January transfer window. However, the Serie A club has no intention of selling their star player, also a target for West Ham United, in a cut-price deal and is holding out for a fee of £37.5 million.
Having signed Kieran Trippier and, most recently, Chris Wood in the January transfer window so far, Newcastle United have already started to flex their newfound financial muscle. And it appears they have now turned their attention towards signing a centre-back.
The Magpies had primarily identified Sven Botman as their top target this month, but it seems LOSC Lille have no intention of selling the Dutchman in the winter transfer window. It has compelled Eddie Howe to scour the market for other alternatives as he looks to upgrade his central defensive options.
While Newcastle United have recently been linked with a move for Diego Carlos, Sevilla’s outrageous demands might rule them out of the chase. That is where Nikola Milenkovic comes into the fray, having been one of Serie A’s top defenders since joining Fiorentina in 2017.
In just four and a half years, the Serb has notched up over 150 competitive appearances for Fiorentina, emerging as a defensive mainstay for the club. His imposing 1.95m frame and aggressive style of defending have already made him an asset for the Viola, although his future in Florence remains uncertain amid interest from Newcastle United and West Ham United.
Milenkovic could indeed be an excellent addition at Newcastle United, who have shipped the second-highest number of goals in the Premier League this term. His presence in the team, alongside Trippier, could add some much-needed quality to the club’s backline.
However, it appears that like Lille, even Fiorentina are unwilling to offload their defensive asset for cheap and are holding out for a fee of £37.5 million. Although Newcastle are more than capable of matching their valuation, they will be keen on avoiding such a significant investment on a player who could be worth only a fraction of that amount.
Spending £37.5 million might be a tall order for West Ham, though. The Hammers are also searching a centre-back this month, as Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna are sidelined with long-term injuries. While Milenkovic has been a long-term target for West Ham, competing with Newcastle will be a tricky proposition.
As such, the Magpies seem willing to continue their search for a new centre-back. In addition to Carlos, Milenkovic and Botman, they have recently set their sights on Gleison Bremer, who could prove to be an excellent cost-effective option for coach Eddie Howe this month.