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West Ham considering Centre Back Signings

It has been somewhat of a quiet transfer window so far for West Ham United, with the club only bringing in defender Craig Dawson from Watford and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from PSG.

Manager David Moyes is now understood to be keen on a move for Chelsea centre back Kurt Zouma, however, talks have stalled due to disagreement over price, with the Blues demanding £25 million for the player, while the Frenchman’s wages also represent a problem.

West Ham considering Centre Back Signings

As a result, Fiorentina’s Serbian international defender Nikola Milenkovic is thought to have been identified as an alternative and as a result of this, the 23-year-old could be a more realistic target with only one year left on his contract at the Italian club.

Indeed, journalist Ekrem Konur reports that the Hammers have submitted a £14 million bid to the Florence club as they look to test their resolve.

 

Who is Milenkovic?

Should the east London outfit land the Serbian defender, it would be seen as somewhat of a coup, with the player thought to have similar qualities to former Manchester United centre back and compatriot, Nemanja Vidic.

At 23 as well, he is the right age and has all of the attributes to develop into a top defender however, the key talking point would be whether he can adjust quickly to the pace of the Premier League. The last centre back that the club recruited from Serie A; Angelo Ogbonna, fitted in well initially, however, he has never realised his full potential.

Having exceeded expectations last season, recording a sixth-place finish in the Premier League and qualifying for the Europa League, the club also only conceded 47 goals – with only four clubs below them (Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Brighton) conceding less.

Undoubtedly strengthening the rearguard for the challenge of the Europa League has been pinpointed as a priority by manager Moyes and Milenkovic could be just the player to take them to the next level.

While Zouma has the advantage of having Premier League experience, the price that Chelsea are demanding is thought to be an unrealistic valuation by Hammers chiefs.

Milenkovic, meanwhile, offers versatility to Moyes, with the player also able to play at right-back, while he has been a mainstay in the Fiorentina defence for the last three seasons. He also offers a credible goal threat as well, scoring 11 Serie A goals so far.

 

More depth is needed for the Hammers

What appears to be clear is that West Ham needs reinforcements this summer, following their qualification for the Europa League and as a result, they have been linked with a number of names.

Zouma’s Chelsea teammate, Tammy Abraham, is thought to be another player that is on the club’s shortlist, as well as West Bromwich Albion’s Matheus Pereira and Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite, with Michail Antonio being the club’s only recognised senior striker.

The club has seen Felipe Anderson leave this summer, while last season’s loanee Jesse Lingard is unlikely to return and Andriy Yarmolenko and Jarrod Bowen have been linked with moves away. As such, attacking incomings could well become the priority should they land Milenkovic.