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Manchester United make Fiorentina defender enquiry as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes Harry Maguire alternative

Bengaluru, July 12: Manchester United have identified Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic as an alternative for primary target Harry Maguire and have enquired to sign the Serie A star, according to reports.

The Red Devils had been vulnerable at the back whole last season, with a big question mark over the centre-backs which has conceded more goals than any other team in the top seven. Earlier in the Summer, former manager Jose Mourinho made his intentions clear that he would be wanting a top centre-back to make a progress. However, CEO Ed Woodward failed to land him his preferred target.

Since his appointment, new boss Solskjaer have tried pairs of Jones, Smalling and Lindelof but also faced the same heat and thus has made it a priority again to add a central defender who can slot straight into his starting line-up next season.

The Premier League side have been linked with several names from the top sides including Napoli defender Koulibaly, West Ham's centre-half Issa Diop but reportedly Leicester's Maguire is the top options the Red Devils are pursuing foremost.

United have already approached the former Premier League winners over a move but the Rodgers and co have made it clear that the defender will only leave the side for a world record fee, for around £80m to which United reportedly have now budged on.

Targetting a fallback option, the Premier League giants reportedly now have set their sights on the Fiorentina youngster who also was a target for Jose Mourinho but United failed to get him in January.

The 6ft 5ins giant centre-back has impressed in Serie A since joining the Italian side from Partizan Belgrade in 2017. Milenkovic was a target for Juventus but they have since cooled their interest, making United front-runners to sign the 21-year-old.

Though a bid was not made, United reportedly reached out to the Serie A club as to the defender’s availability. Fiorentina wanted around £45m for the Serbian in January and would likely accept a similar amount this time around.

This could be an attempt to lower down the asking price for Maguire however it is unlikely the Premier League side will settle for a modification at this stage, which could be an important factor in United's pursuit for the Serbian man.

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Story first published: Friday, July 12, 2019, 13:48 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 12, 2019
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