West Ham facing competition from Atleti for Fiorentina defender

West Ham facing competition from Atleti for Fiorentina defender

by Emily Smith
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West Ham are ‘interested’ in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic but are facing competition from Atletico Madrid, according to reports.

The Hammers were heavily linked with the Serbian last summer but a deal failed to materialise.

He signed a new deal – albeit only lasting until 2023 – following a transfer window full of rumours.

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West Ham ‘remain interested’ in signing Milenkovic after coming ‘very close’ to signing the centre-back a few months ago, according to Tutto Mercato Web (via Sport Witness).

Spanish champions Atletico are also keen on signing the 24-year-old. The La Liga giants could prove to be very stiff competition for the Irons as David Moyes looks to improve their defensive depth.

The report adds that a move is likely to happen in the summer, with a January swoop for Milenkovic unlikely.

Moyes has been short on options in the centre of defence after the season-ending injury to Angelo Ogbonna and a long-term hamstring injury picked up by Kurt Zouma in December.

However, West Ham could be handed a ‘huge boost’ after the Evening Standard reported that Zouma could return against Manchester United on January 22.

The report claims that the 27-year-old could have returned sooner had he not tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

Zouma was initially expected to return in February after he suffered the injury against his former club Chelsea.

West Ham have only kept two clean sheets since Zouma’s injury, during the 0-0 draw at Burnley and Sunday’s 2-0 win against Leeds United in the FA Cup.

Elsewhere, Newcastle are in “advanced talks” with Stade Reims over the signing of young striker Hugo Ekitike, according to reports.

This is according to 90min, who claim the Magpies are very keen on signing the “wonderkid”. The deal will likely be worth “just shy of £30million”.

Ekitike is the highest scoring teenager in Europe’s top five leagues this season and has already drawn comparisons to Kylian Mbappe.

The 19-year-old has netted eight times in 17 Ligue 1 matches for Reims, who currently sit 14th in the French top flight.

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