West Ham back in for Tottenham target but face fight to complete deal

Nikola Milenkovic Fiorentina

West Ham are back in the race for a highly-rated star but could see their approach fall on deaf ears, according to reports.

The Irons need a new centre-back following an injury to Angelo Ogbonna. The Italian could miss up to nine months after damaging his ACL in the 3-2 victory over Liverpool.

That leaves David Moyes with just three first-team options – Kurt Zouma, Craig Dawson and Issa Diop.

West Ham were immediately linked with two Championship stars as potential solutions. Middlesbrough’s Dael Fry and QPR’s Rob Dickie are supposedly on their radar.

But reports now suggest that the east London club have returned for a top Serie A defender they pursued in the summer.

Sport Witness, citing reports in the Italian press, state that West Ham are back in for Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic ahead of January.

They were targeting his signature earlier this year but eventually brought in Kurt Zouma from Chelsea instead. Milenkovic remains highly thought of at the London Stadium.

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He has been affectionately labelled the ‘new Nemanja Vidic’ thanks to his no-nonsense defending. However, it may be tough for Moyes and co to prize him away from Italy.

The report claims that Fiorentina consider him to be ‘untransferable’. He is one of their best players and will be integral to them once again this campaign. A January exit would complicate their season and force manager Vincenzo Italiano to request an immediate replacement.

It looks like a winter move is off the cards, although Milenkovic could still find his way to England next summer. Tottenham are long-term admirers of the 24-year-old and could look to partner him with Cristian Romero in the future.

Reports in August revealed that Spurs director Fabio Paratici was willing to spend £15million on Milenkovic. That fee may rise if the Serbian continues his impressive form at the Artemio Franchi stadium.

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Former West Ham man explains departure

Meanwhile, former Hammers star Dimitri Payet has spoken about his exit from the club.

The Frenchman originally joined in July 2015 and soon became a fan favourite. But his former club, Marseille, then emerged as suitors for his signature in 2017. A move was soon completed, much to the dismay of the club and their fans.

On his return to Marseille, Payet said: “Did I hesitate to come back? Not for one second.

“The idea was in the back of my head after the second game of the Euros, when we played at the Velodrome. It had been in my head for a few months.

“It was also a family choice. I didn’t hesitate for one second. The most difficult [thing] was trying to convince West Ham.”

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