Why Nikola Milenkovic would be a good investment for Barcelona
According to Italian newspaper La Nazione (h/t Marca), Barcelona have turned to Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic in search of a centre-back.
Coming through the ranks of Partizan Belgrade’s youth system, Milenkovic moved to Florence in 2017 from his home country. The youngster burst onto the scene last season and has been a key member for Vincenzo Montella’s squad this season, featuring in 12 league games so far.
Fiorentina are at 10th position in the league and Milenkovic’s rise in form this season has prompted Barcelona to keep an eye on the youngster.
He was previously linked with Manchester United, who made a £45m offer in the summer (h/t Sun). The deal eventually did not happen as the Red Devils signed Harry Maguire. Now, Milenkovic is on the books of the Catalan giants.
The 22-year-old Serbian made his international debut in June 2018 and since then, he has featured in 18 games for his country, most recently making his presence felt in the Euro qualifiers.
Barcelona are currently on top of the La Liga table level on points with rivals Real Madrid. The Catalans are hoping to add a solid centre-back to their squad and Nikola Milenkovic would be best suited for them, with experience in club and country level.
Despite a bad start to the season, Barcelona have regrouped and look to be going well. If there is one position that needs a change or certain back-up, it would be their central defence. With Milenkovic hitting top form at the right time, Barcelona should bring him to Camp Nou.
They have already conceded 16 goals in 13 games and have managed only 3 clean sheets in the process, which is very low by their standards. Milenkovic could be used as a perfect back-up for Pique and Lenglet who have featured in most of the games.
With Umtiti’s recent injuries, Milenkovic would add depth to the squad and he has the ability to stay fit for a longer time.
The Serbian also has 3 goals to his name so far in Serie A, which is rare for a natural centre-back. According to Whoscored, Milenkovic has registered 1.6 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.2 clearances per game in the league this term, which is an impressive feat for a 22-year-old. He makes successful passes at an average of 88% per game.
In Milenkovic, Valverde would have an option to rotate his centre-backs and make sure they are fit for various competitions that his side is involved in.
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Not only can Milenkovic be a back-up but he could also go on to be a successful replacement for the ageing Gerard Pique (32). He has a handful of experience, and plying his trade in Spain would see him scale greater heights for both Serbia and Barcelona.
When January arrives, Barcelona must swiftly be ahead of other teams in securing his services.