West Ham are in talks with Fiorentina over a possible Nikola Milenkovic transfer while assessing their chances of signing Kurt Zouma, according to a report.
The Hammers have made Zouma their primary target as they seek to make one more defensive signing. Ahead of a campaign that will include European football, they need depth in all areas of their squad. They are looking at a number of options at centre-back, with Zouma the main man on their wish-list.
That’s according to Sky Sports, who claim the Chelsea defender would be open to a move across London. However, it would not be an easy transaction.
Chelsea are aiming to make a defensive signing of their own and are intent on getting Jules Kounde from Sevilla. To lower the price, they want to send his compatriot Zouma in the opposite direction. Sevilla are unsure, but Kounde could still end up at Stamford Bridge regardless of whether Zouma moves.
Amid that uncertainty, West Ham are hopeful of signing the 26-year-old – but he is not their only target.
Back in June, West Ham were linked with Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic. The Serbia international is in the final 12 months of his contract and is reluctant to renew. Therefore, Fiorentina are trying to sell him before the season starts and were expecting a move from Tottenham.
But Spurs look set to sign Cristian Romero and Takehiro Tomiyasu from other Serie A sides instead. Therefore, Milenkovic may have to seek another destination.
According to Sky, West Ham could provide him with the solution. They are apparently in talks with Fiorentina after realising Milenkovic is a “more realistic” target than Zouma due to the latter’s £25m transfer fee and high wages.
Previous reports have suggested Milenkovic would be open to playing in the Premier League. Furthermore, West Ham have the prospect of Europa League football to further tempt him.
It is not yet clear if they have made a formal bid, but he is an option they are genuinely considering.
West Ham ahead of two Prem rivals for defender
One man not mentioned in Sky‘s report, but linked by other sources recently, is Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby.
Diakhaby is a former France youth international who is still in the earlier years of his career at the age of 24. He has played for Valencia since 2018, when they signed him from Lyon. In the three seasons since then, he has made just shy of 100 appearances in all competitions.
Two years remain on his contract at the Mestalla, but he does not want to sign a renewal. Therefore, this summer may be the optimum time for them to cash in, before his value decreases.
In the process, Diakhaby could end up in the Premier League. According to Mundo Deportivo, he has admirers at West Ham, Leicester and Newcastle.
Of the trio, West Ham currently have the advantage and are further down the line in their pursuit.
Diakhaby is available for around £18m this summer and all three of his Premier League suitors are capable of paying it, as per the report.
But Milenkovic seems to be the main name on West Ham’s radar at present.