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Manchester United scout Nikola Milenkovic

Apparently he plays for Fiorentina

Serbia v Montenegro - UEFA Nations League C
Never heard of him tbh
Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Manchester United are looking to sign Fiorentina central defender Nikola Milenkovic, and are reportedly scouting the player this Sunday as they prepare for the January transfer window. He is set to play against Bologna on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid offered 45 million euros for the player in the summer, meaning that United would have to offer around twice that if they were to stand a chance of bringing the player from Italy this winter.

There is also competition from Juventus for the player who can play at both right-back and central defence. At 21, he would be the youngest defender after Diogo Dalot who is expected to take up a position at either left or right-back.

United have struggled with their central defensive options of late, and things could be getting worse soon. The papers report that Chris Smalling is in talks to get a raise to around £120,000 a week as he extends his contract. The club have a 12-month contract extension that they can activate unilaterally to preserve his resale value.

The problem with that is that no club will deliberately pay Smalling a similar figure because he is consistently sub-par, makes mistakes throughout most matches he plays, and at 29 has shown no sign of improvement over the last few seasons. The problem with him signing a new contract is that it will be impossible to shift him, which is the same problem with Marcos Rojo, and was the reason it took just so long to get Daley Blind to do one.

Mourinho wants a central defender and has done since the summer, when Ed Woodward stitched up the manager. Woodward decided that Spurs’ defender Toby Alderweireld was no better than the current selection at the club, which is clearly complete guff, but is an indictment and accurate representation of the bozos who are currently in charge of consigning the club to long-term mediocrity, at best.

With Eric Bailly still on the naughty step, Phil Jones still being Phil Jones, and both Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay not actually central defenders, United need a clear out in defence and for money to spent on quality. Given Woodward is in charge of the defence, let’s look forward to a new season starting in 2019 with both Smalling and Jones installed as captain and vice-captain on £200,000 a week each, and heading towards two testimonials.