Man Utd rock Liverpool with upper hand in battle for international defender

Date published: Monday 15th March 2021 1:30 - Jonny Whitfield

Manchester United have a ‘clear advantage’ over Liverpool in the race to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, a report claims.

Milenkovic has emerged as one of Europe’s most coveted centre-backs with his displays this term.

The 23-year-old has missed only 198 minutes of Serie A action after 27 games, sitting out only two matches.

As such, he has become a key star for the Italian club and his displays have reportedly caught the eye of clubs across Europe.

United, Liverpool and Tottenham have all entertained links, but the former two reportedly hold the strongest ties to the player.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) however, the Red Devils have a strong advantage over their north-west rivals.

The Old Trafford club began talks with Milenkovic’s representatives last summer and have therefore built up a strong rapport. What’s more, they hope that such relationships can act as a platform for a summer deal.

Milenkovic’s contract expires next summer, but the Serbian has reportedly made it clear that he wants to cash in on his recent rise with a move across Europe at the end of the season.

Such a stance will also benefit Fiorentina, who have made preparations to get a solid price for their star player.

Gazzetta dello Sport adds that the Serie A club are looking to earn ‘around’ €35million (£30million) from his sale.

United have earmarked a new centre-back as a top priority in this summer’s transfer window. However, the Manchester Evening News reported on Monday that Erling Haaland is also a key target.

As such, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side will only be able to spend a ‘significant’ sum on one area of their squad.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have been decimated by centre-back injuries this season and started the season with only three options following Dejan Lovren’s sale to Zenit St Petersburg.

Neville warns flaw holding Man Utd back

Gary Neville October 2020

Meanwhile, Gary Neville has pointed out a key flaw which is currently holding United back from winning the Premier League title.

The Red Devils made it 13 matches unbeaten with Sunday’s 1-0 win over West Ham.

However, Neville does not feel entirely content with what he is seeing from his former side.

READ MORE: Gary Neville warns Man Utd will never win title with glaring current flaw

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