West Ham

West Ham end pursuit of Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic

Toby Cudworth
West Ham will not be signing Milenkovic
West Ham will not be signing Milenkovic / Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

West Ham have pulled out of the running to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic and a deal for Kurt Zouma is also off, 90min can confirm.

The Hammers have been looking to strengthen their options in central defence and have been in advanced negotiations with Milenkovic's representatives for a couple of weeks. But progress has been slow during talks between the two parties, and things were further complicated by rival interest from Tottenham; they began their own talks with the Serbian last Friday.

90min has learned that West Ham have now pulled the plug on Milenkovic and the decision to end their interest is that of manager David Moyes, who oversaw a thrilling 4-2 win at Newcastle on the opening day of the Premier League season.

There will also be no move for Chelsea defender Zouma, whose future at Stamford Bridge is far from certain. The Blues are keen to pursue a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde and had hoped to use Zouma in exchange in order to drive his price down.

The Frenchman turned down that move as he's happy in London and was initially interested in exploring a move to West Ham when their interest became apparent. However, his wage demands are too excessive and the Hammers are not willing to meet Chelsea's £25m asking price.

West Ham's search for a new defender will continue, though time is fast running out for Moyes to
get a new player in and up to speed before the club's Europa League adventure begins.

There remains an appetite to bring in a striker, too, although West Ham are finding it hard to find a capable striker willing to play second fiddle to Michail Antonio. He started his 2021/22 campaign in fine style, bagging a goal and an assist in the win at Newcastle, but concerns remain over his prospective workload.

As for Milenkovic, talks will continue over a possible move to Tottenham.

The Lilywhites have already completed the signing of Cristian Romero from Atalanta for a fee approaching £50m, but given Fiorentina are likely to accept around £15m for 23-year-old Milenkovic, Nuno Espirito Santo may yet opt to double up and bring the Serb to North London as well.