We finally have news regarding our likeliest departure this offseason. According to various reporters (including Gianluca Di Marzio), West Ham United, of Premier League (and soon to be Europa League) fame, is preparing to lodge another bid for our own Nikola Milenković. This follows West Ham’s unsuccessful reported €25 million bid last summer.
Nicolo Schira, who I’d put in the A- or B+ tier for Fiorentina, has gone the furthest, saying that the Hammers’ €18 million bid was rejected as Daniele Pradè and co. are hoping for at least €25 million.
We’ve all been resigned to losing Milenković for a year now, so it’s no surprise to see bids starting to come in. While the reported bid is quite large for a player with just one year remaining on their contract, we all know Nicky is worth the price. There are few center-halfs in the world with his combination of athleticism and size, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re guaranteed a couple of goals from him every campaign. There’s a long way to go in this window, and Daniele Pradè and co. are right to wait and try and see if a big player such as Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur grow interested. Milenković is tailor-made for the modern game, and I’m surprised to not see clubs that employ a back three, such as Chelsea or Inter Milan, interested in him.
And while David Moyes has done a great job with West Ham, it’s hard to feel like this move would be much of a step up. On the one hand, The Hammers can guarantee European football this season, and London is a great place to live. On the other hand, looking at the talent of the squad itself, they’re not much better than Fiorentina and as such I expect them to regress in the near future.
For Fiorentina, Milenković leaving doesn’t change much, as we’re all expecting him to depart Firenze. More of a mystery lies with the future of Germán Pezzella. Regardless, the big Serbian leaving means the Viola need to replace his physicality, which will be a tough ask unless Igor is ready to become a full-time starter.
A word of caution for West Ham fans- while he’s a great defender, he’s never looked fully comfortable as a center-back in a back four, and he struggled there under Prandelli just this year. In addition, he’s never been the most vocal or much of a leader, and moving to a country with a new language heeds further caution. So, I’d expect him to have a rocky start and take a few months to settle in. That being said, David Moyes is an excellent manager, and I expect him to get the most out of Milenković before long.