Tottenham and West Ham will have to wait until next summer to land a Serie A target after his club announced a new contract has been signed.
Both London clubs are known to be on the hunt for reinforcements at centre-back this summer. David Moyes is in desperate need of a new face in the position with a tricky Europa League campaign looming on the horizon.
That will test the Hammers’ depth, and Liverpool showed last year how damaging a shortage of centre-back options can be.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are seeking a second arrival at the heart of defence to follow in Cristian Romero’s footsteps.
Bologna’s Takehiro Tomiyasu was repeatedly linked, but it appeared fellow Serie A defender Nikola Milenkovic had caught their eye.
West Ham and Wolves were thought to be in the mix for the Fiorentina centre-half. However, the Hammers’ efforts stalled after failing to reach an agreement over the Serbian’s €18m-€20m valuation.
That left the door open for Tottenham to stride through, but they too have been left empty-handed after Fiorentina announced Milenkovic has penned a new contract.
The 23-year-old was due to be a free agent next summer. However, he has now agreed a 12-month extension running until 2023.
— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) August 19, 2021
That will likely mean Milenkovic could be available for transfer again next summer to avoid a free agent departure the year after.
Football Italia note the change of heart was ‘prompted by the departure of team-mate German Pezzella to Real Betis’.
With Pezzella due to leave, Milenkovic will now form a centre-back partnership with fellow Serbian Matija Nastasic. The ex-Man City defender is tipped to arrive for a ‘minimal fee’ from relegated German side Schalke.
Tottenham sensation given European opportunity
Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo says that young striker Dane Scarlett will start in Thursday’s Europa Conference League clash.
Spurs face Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal in the first leg of their play-off for UEFA’s new competition. Expectations for the Europa Conference League remain unclear. The prize is a place in next season’s Europa League group stage if the winners do not otherwise qualify for the Champions League.
However, the game is a chance for the lesser lights at the bigger clubs taking part to stamp their mark. Indeed, 17-year-old Scarlett will have the chance to prove himself.
Nuno told his pre-match press conference on Wednesday (via the Evening Standard): “He’s going to start the game tomorrow.
“We have big, big expectations regarding Dane because he did so well in pre-season which you recall the game against Leyton Orient in which he scored and he was involved in many of the games in pre-season.
“He’s a young talent that we want to develop and we want to make him better and want to make him grow because there’s a lot of potential there.”