Manchester United are preparing to go toe to toe with rivals Manchester City for the signature of Fiorentina centre back Nikola Milenkovic.
United prioritised strengthening elsewhere on the pitch during the 2020 transfer window with the signings of Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, and Donny van de Beek, but are expected to target a new centre back in the summer.
City made it their mission to sure up at the back during the 2020 window, spending over £100m on Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias. The form of the latter coupled with the re-emergence of John Stones has resulted in a rapid improvement for the Citizens defensively this season – conceding an average of just 0.6 goals per game en route to them surging to the Premier League summit.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via the Express), despite their strong defensive record this season, City are continuing to target reinforcements at the back and are ‘fighting over’ Fiorentina’s Milenkovic with rivals United.
The 23-year-old’s contract with the Serie A outfit expires in 2022, and the Italian news outlet report that a new contract is not likely to be drawn up. As a result, the Premier League is his number one destination.
United currently have Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe on their books at centre half, but saw Marcos Rojo depart permanently for Boca Juniors in February.
Given the amount they spent on centre halves during 2020, the impressive form of John Stones and City‘s all round strong defensive record this season, whether the Citizens would be in the market for another centre half come the summer of 2021 remains to be seen.