Fabrizio Romano has been speaking on the Here We Go podcast about how close West Ham United came to signing Nikola Milenkovic.
The 23-year old was reportedly in talks with the Hammers over the summer as David Moyes looked to bolster his backline but they ended up moving for Premier League centre-back Kurt Zouma, who joined from Chelsea for around £25m.
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The Serbian international also saw his name being linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, but following a failure to secure a move away from Fiorentina, the centre-back penned a new deal with the Serie A club which runs until 2023.
Discussing deals that didn’t quite get over the line this summer, Romano revealed what happened in negotiations between West Ham and Milenkovic.
“One of the most crazy deals of this summer, because it was really done, it was really done – Nikola Milenkovic to West Ham. Then, they decided to sign Kurt Zouma weeks later, but they were more than close to Nikola Milenkovic.
“It was at [the] final stages, and West Ham changed their mind with David Moyes and the board at the last minute for Nikola Milenkovic.
“So they said, after final negotiations with the player and with his agent, they said ‘okay, no, we’re going to move on another player, thank you’. It’s really crazy how in football sometimes they can change their mind.
“West Ham wanted him, they had an agreement in place with Fiorentina. It was about the contract of the player and final details with the player, so it was about personal terms with Milenkovic and with his agent, and then the deal collapsed.”
TIF Thoughts on Milenkovic and his failed move to West Ham…
Judging by his latest international performance, it may be a bullet dodged by the Hammers, as Milenkovic scored an own goal against the Republic of Ireland – and that’s not something West Ham need more of, as they finished last season having scored four own goals, which was the joint-most in the Premier League (FBRef).
Looking at last season, it was not a great one defensively for Fiorentina as they finished 13th in Serie A, as well as conceding the second-most out of the top 13 sides in Italy with 59 goals, whereas the defender West Ham signed, Zouma, was part of a Champions League-winning side that only conceded 13 goals since Thomas Tuchel took over, so he may turn out to be the wiser option.