West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Howe to echo Moyes disappointment as reasons emerge for ‘high-level’ star’s West Ham snub

Nikola Milenkovic Fiorentina

Nikola Milenkovic reportedly rejected a chance to join West Ham last summer and his friendship with a fellow Serbian means a move to Juventus is likely.

The Hammers were heavily linked with the Fiorentina defender during the 2021 summer window. It seemed as though David Moyes would add to his ranks with the rangy stopper. But the deal fell through before Tottenham then appeared to enter the picture.

There were also links to Wolves while Juve were mentioned as possible suitors. However the Serbia international remained at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

He has enjoyed a solid season, with 22 Serie A starts, helping I Viola to eighth in the Italian top-flight standings. They are still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe, sitting two points behind fifth-placed Atalanta.

West Ham missed out on a talented player who can feature in central defence or as a right-back. Reports at the time suggested the East End outfit ended negotiations over the 24-year-old.

But La Nazione journalist Angelo Giorgetti feels it was the former Partizan ace who pulled out of the deal. And he may well opt for a switch to Turin at the end of the season to be with another Serbia international.

“I really don’t know,” he told TuttoJuve, via Sport Witness. “I can only say that Milenkovic is a high-level defender who rejected West Ham last summer – the deal was practically done – and is very close to (Dusan) Vlahovic.”.

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Newcastle United’s takeover means they are now serious players in the transfer market. Eddie Howe recruited well in January and is seeing the rewards, with the Magpies edging away from danger.

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The north-east outfit have moved up to 14th and are four points clear of the relegation zone. Milenkovic was one of a number of names mentioned in connection with St James’ Park last month.

The Tynesiders wanted Sevilla defender Diego Carlos as well but missed out on the pair. It seems likely that Howe will be given funds to bring in any number of top stars at the end of 2021-2022.

Whether they can beat off Juve only time will tell. West Ham may go back in for the Belgrade-born international.

Qualifying for the Champions League will help Moyes lure the big names to the London Stadium. And they are still in with a decent chance of finishing in the top four.

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Eight points from the past four games mean the capital club are fifth, just two points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United.

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