Manchester United tried to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic last summer according to the club’s chief executive.
Prior to Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s appointment as caretaker manager, United struggled defensively this season.
Could Milenkovic still become a Red Devil? Here is what you need to know…
- Milenkovic joined Fiorentina in 2017 from Partizan for a transfer fee of around €5m.
- The 21-year-old has made 37 appearances for the Serie A side, scoring two goals.
- The 10-capped Serbia international has established himself as one of the most promising centre-backs in Europe.
- United publicly sought a new defender in the summer, with the club linked to various defenders from across the continent.
- Fiorentina chief executive Pantaleo Corvino has now revealed that United tried to sign Milenkovic in the previous transfer window.
Speaking to reporters, Corvino explained how Fiorentina had to reject multiple bids for different members of their squad, including an offer from Manchester United to bring Milenkovic to the Premier League.
Former United manager Jose Mourinho clearly saw the young defender as the answer to the club’s defensive woes, but ultimately couldn’t find a way of bringing him to Old Trafford.
Corvino told Gazzetta dello Sport: “We rejected great offers from Lyon for [Jordan] Veretout, from Marseille for [Giovani] Simeone and from Manchester United for Nikola Milenkovic.”
Could the deal still happen?
United’s form in recent weeks has rapidly improved following the arrival of former club striker Solskjaer, who replaced the outgoing Mourinho in December.
However, the club will surely look to build upon this recent success. A proportion of the United squad will see their contracts expire at the end of the season, freeing up wages for United’s next permanent manager to make some new signings.
Whether Milenkovic is still a target remains to be seen but former Fiorentina scout Fabrizio Bertuzzi believes that the defender would be a valuable addition to the United ranks and to Premier League football.
“I followed him for a long period, he has been targeted by [Pantaleo] Corvino a long time ago. I was amazed by his coolness and his strength,” Bertuzzi told Tribal Football.
“Milenkovic is a mature man. He lacks in positioning, that’s why [Stefano] Pioli plays him decentralised.
“I think it is probable to see him doing well in Premier League, because he improved a lot in just one year at Fiorentina.”