Manchester United’s interest in Fiorentina central defender Nikola Milenkovic has cooled since Jose Mourinho’s sacking by the club last month.
Milenkovic has been watched by scouts from Old Trafford on a number of occasions this season and Mourinho had a look himself when he attended Serbia’s Nations League group game with Montenegro in October.
But ESPN claims United have prioritised other targets since Mourinho’s departure. It says that Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar are now both ahead of Milenkovic on Ed Woodward’s wishlist.
United have prioritised a new central defender although whether any such addition will be made this month is open to question. Clubs are usually reluctant to allow big-name players to leave mid-season as it means recruiting a replacement is a little more difficult.
Real Madrid Join Race For Koulibaly
Meanwhile, Manchester United will face competition from Real Madrid should the prospect arise of Napoli selling Koulibaly. The Naples-based daily newspaper Il Mattino claims the European champions could offer €100million (£90million) for the Senegal international later this month.
Napoli have put a price tag of €125million (£112million) on the 27-year-old – a fee that would be a world record for a defender eclipsing the £75million Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk a year ago.
But with two top clubs interested in his player Napoli president Aurelio di Laurentiis is safe in the knowledge that he will get somewhere close to his target price in the summer. That would actually make a January move less likely.
However, Real are in fifth place in La Liga some ten points behind arch-rivals Barcelona and could be forced into the market as they seek to close the gap. Defence has been a problem for Los Blancos this season with their record of 23 goals conceded in 18 games worse than any other side in Spain’s top seven.