Nikola Milenkovic could be available for just €25m this summer as Premier League sides ponder a move, according to reports.
The Fiorentina centre-back will be out of contract in 2022. With that in mind, the Serie A side need to cash in on him this summer to avoid losing him for free. His availability has put a number of clubs on alert, including several in England.
For example, Chelsea are the latest club to have entered the race for Milenkovic. They have joined the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham in the pursuit.
Those interested parties will have received encouragement from the latest reports about how much it may cost to sign the defender.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Fiorentina’s asking price has dropped from €40m last summer to €25m this summer. It still may be slightly steep for a player with just a year of contract left, but is an inviting reduction nonetheless.
Milenkovic has previously been said to favour a move to the Premier League. That remains a strong possibility, but Gazzetta claim Serie A rivals Milan and Inter could battle for him.
Both clubs are in need of defensive reinforcements and Milenkovic appeals due to his Serie A experience. But it remains to be seen if he will pursue a new challenge in England instead.
Chelsea are on the lookout for a long-term successor to Thiago Silva. The Brazilian is out of contract this summer and may stay. But either way, they will need younger competition for his place.
Man Utd, meanwhile, want to find the perfect partner for Harry Maguire. Doubts remain about Victor Lindelof, while Eric Bailly seems to be unsettled at the club.
Liverpool have been scrambling for defensive cover ever since the injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Milenkovic would be an option they might consider.
And Tottenham want to solidify their defence after Jose Mourinho grew fed up with his current options. Davinson Sanchez may leave, for example, so there would be a need for a replacement.
Milenkovic has plenty of options to choose from, then. All those potential suitors in the Premier League would likely be able to pay €25m if they really want him.
In fact, that was the size of the offer West Ham reportedly made last summer. Fiorentina did not deem it high enough at the time but their stance has now changed.
West Ham are not believed to be in the running for Milenkovic any more. But some of the sides they are competing with for a European place are.
Second thoughts about Milenkovic
Two clubs who may be cooling their interest are Man Utd and Liverpool. Recent reports suggested they were unconvinced by Milenkovic’s performances for Serbia during the international break.
The 23-year-old made errors for both goals conceded in a 2-2 draw with Portugal. Hence, the two rivals will need closer observation of his performances at club level before deciding whether to bid.
Milenkovic has done well for La Viola this season. He has started more Serie A games and played for more minutes than any other outfield player.
Hence, he will be hoping to continue that form for the next few weeks to show Liverpool and United his mistakes for Serbia were out of character.
However, if he does not convince, both clubs are working with extensive shortlists and could turn their focus to alternatives.