According to Daily Mail (via Gazzetta dello Sport), Manchester United are once again interested in signing Nikola Milenkovic from Fiorentina. They were linked with the 24-year-old defender when Jose Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford. Moreover, the signing does not need spending loads of cash. In fact, the Red Devils could sign the player for just £13million.
United will compete with Inter Milan for the signature of the Serbian international. In addition, Tottenham and Liverpool also had an interest in signing the defender last summer. Whereas Arsenal also saw Milenkovic as an option before signing Ben White. According to Corriere dello Sport, Nikola Milenkovic is ready for a switch to Old Trafford.
The player has made it clear that he would not be signing an extension with the club and his current contract expires in 2023. He has made himself available to other clubs and Manchester United desperately needs to sign a center-back. The silly mistakes and blunders from Harry Maguire has led to many people losing trust in the present club captain.
Manchester United will welcome a new permanent manager at the end of this season. It is likely that the club will rebuild again and will want to make new signings according to their new manager. However, Harry Maguire will have to do a lot to regain the trust he has lost this season. Therefore, signing a new defender seems to be the way to go for Manchester United.
How could Milenkovic improve United?
Harry Maguire has cost Manchester United a lot of points and results this season. Many fans are of the view that the current captain should not be included in the starting XI anymore. United have Victor Lindelof who can play ahead of Harry Maguire. But Eric Bailly is a defender who could depart in near future, so United do not have many good options for backup in that department and will need strengthening.
Nikola Milenkovic makes 1.8 tackles with 1.4 interceptions and also 3 clearances per game. Moreover, he also attempts 4 long balls per game (stats via whoscored). All these stats tick mark the qualities required in a centre-back but most importantly, he is very concentrated during a game. His focus does not let him commit many mistakes which is what United need at the moment.
The values of his attributes via SofaScore suggest that his defending and tackling abilities are better than the average values in that position. He also provides a set-piece threat and United have proved to be very poor in that area. They have scored only two goals, that too from two direct set-pieces in more than a hundred and fifty set-pieces taken.
Should Manchester United sign Nikola Milenkovic?
Manchester United should absolutely go for Nikola Milenkovic as they could get him for a bargain of £13million. There is some possibility that a new manager could elect a new club captain. If Harry Maguire is not the captain anymore, the new manager will not have any more pressure to select him in the starting XI.
The Red Devils certainly need Milenkovic’s concentration to have control over the game just like interim manager Ralf Rangnick prefers. United have struggled to dominate their opponents and finish chances. One mistake from the backline has cost them a lot of wins. However, signing Nikola Milenkovic could provide security and reliability at the back.
Fiorentina are fighting for a place in Europe for the next season and Milenkovic has been a crucial part of their team in a successful season. He has made zero errors that has led to a goal or even shot. That displays how strong his concentration is and also shows the strong grip he has over his game. He will provide the necessary depth to the United squad and will also push his teammates to do better.
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A reliable centre-back is what the big teams must have but United are lacking that. Even Raphael Varane has had moments to forget and sometimes only Lindelof seems to be a reliable option. However, the Iceman does not get enough starts despite what he provides on the pitch. That is one concern that should be considered before signing Milenkovic. The Serbian has to be given regular game time for him to succeed at Manchester United.