Why Nikola Milenkovic would be a solid signing for Tottenham
Back in October 2018, Daily Mirror had claimed that Tottenham were interested in signing Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. However, a deal didn’t materialise.
Nikola Milenkovic, 22, joined Fiorentina from Partizan Belgrade in the summer of 2017 and has attracted high praise with his displays in Serie A. He became a very important player for the La Viola last season and appeared in 34 Serie A games, scoring thrice.
The Serbian defender has hit the ground running in the 2019/20 campaign, and has played every single minute of Serie A for Fiorentina, scoring three goals so far.
With Nikola Milenkovic continuing to impress in Fiorentina colours, Tottenham must definitely reignite their interest in him during the January transfer window.
Spurs have had a tough start to the season, currently sitting 14th in the Premier League table – 11 points off the top four. They have been defensively so poor this season and have already conceded 17 goals. That simply isn’t good reading for a team having top-four aspirations.
Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – two pillars of the Spurs backline, haven’t been at their best. Davinson Sanchez has been off form and Eric Dier seems to have lost his way too. Furthermore, with Vertonghen and Alderweireld out of contracts at the end of the season, Pochettino needs to plan for the future and recruit a couple of quality defenders in January.
Nikola Milenkovic would be an ideal fit at Tottenham, who also have two promising young defenders in Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth. Milenkovic has been solid for Fiorentina ever since arriving at the club, impressing with his strength, power and composure on the ball.
Predominantly a centre-half, the 22-year-old is also adept playing at right-back. In fact, he operated at right-back for the majority of 2018/19 campaign, although La Viola narrowly avoided relegation.
His versatility would be a big boon for Pochettino, who already has tried three players to fill the void left by Kieran Tripper but hasn’t succeeded.
Cool and calm on the ball, the Serbian has a fantastic passing range and combines it with his ability to read the game beautifully. Pochettino prefers defenders who can bring the ball out from the back, keep composure and not rush into unnecessary tackles, something which Milenkovic excels at.
Like most modern-day centre-backs, the 22-year-old can pick a pass and does so brilliantly with an average of 88.2% pass success rate, which includes 2.8 long-balls and 0.2 key passes per game in the Serie A alone.
Plus, he is a decent tackler and can make some crucial interceptions for his team, as evident from his average of 1.6 tackles and 1 interception. [Courtesy: WhoScored.com]
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Not to forget, Milenkovic is an asset to have at both ends of the pitch due to his 6ft 5in frame. He scored three goals last season and already has three to his name so far in the 2019/20 campaign.
All in all, the Serbian international has the required qualities to thrive in the Premier League and could be a fantastic long-term replacement for Alderweireld.