Monday, December 10, 2018

Four Players Jose Mourinho Watched on His Scouting Mission in Montenegro

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Manchester United boss Manchester United was in stands for Serbia’s historic UEFA Nations League triumph over Montenegro in Podgorica on Thursday night.

Serbia and Montenegro locked horns in a game that marked the first encounter between the two countries that appeared as a single team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Visitors grabbed a 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic who extended his fine run of form by scoring his ninth goal of the season, four of which came for his country in two Nation League wins.

Mourinho’s Scouting Mission

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was a surprise guest at the UEFA Nations League match in Podgorica last night but the Portuguese flew over to visit his friend and former Yugoslav legend Predrag Mijatovic.

Mourinho and Mijatovic watched Serbia during the World Cup qualification in Austria as well and they were both on the stands for the last night’s Nations League clash.

“I came here to watch my friend, Predrag Mijatovic,” Mourinho told Serbian media outlet Sportske.net last night.

What Jose Mourinho failed to disclose, however, was the real reason for his visit. Manchester United boss has long been linked with a couple of Serbian players but it appears his watchlist contained a couple of names from both sides on Thursday night.

The Portuguese was reportedly disappointed with how United conducted their transfer activities this summer and is reportedly looking for potential reinforcements in defence and midfield in order to boost his team’s chances of grabbing a top-four spot. Eighth-placed Manchester United are currently a 9/4 bet to claim the Champions League place. Mourinho’s midweek Montenegro visit might have been a personal trip but it is being suggested that the Portuguese watched the following players:

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic & Adam Marusic

Jose Mourinho is said to have kept a close eye on Lazio duo Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Adam Marusic. Manchester United have long been linked with the midfielder who had an explosive season in Serie A. Milinkovic-Savic featured as a second-half substitute but still managed to make an impression by participating in Mitrovic’s second goal of the game. He wasn’t the only Lazio player Mourinho came to see though as the Red Devils have also been linked with his club teammate – Montenegro right-back Marusic who is playing in fine form at the moment.

Diogo Dalot came as a solution to United’s burning issue at the back but has yet to be unleashed by the Red Devils boss. Dalot is expected to be handed more starting opportunities after the international break but the suggestions are Mourinho is keeping tabs on alternative solutions and replacement for ageing Antonio Valencia.  

Nikola Milenkovic

Jose Mourinho is said to be a keen admirer of Serbia defender and Fiorentina starlet Nikola Milenkovic. The 21-year-old centre-back is enjoying a fine start to the new season in Italy where he already scored two goals and established himself as one of the biggest rising stars.

Milenkovic is oozing confidence, power and focus which are the traits that got him on the radar of many of Europe’s top clubs. He played full 90 minutes in Montenegro and put in a genuinely flawless performance which must have impressed Mourinho. Fiorentina youngster could be a long-term solution to United’s backline and a player who could become a genuine successor to former captain Nemanja Vidic.

Mijat Gacinovic

Eintracht Frankfurt winger Mijat Gacinovic is a surprise inclusion to the list of potential targets. The 23-year-old Serbian has excelled in Bundesliga as part of Frankfurt’s Balkan connection – which also has Ante Rebic, Filip Kostic and Luka Jovic – and earned himself a call back into Mladen Krstajic’s team after missing out on the World Cup.

Former Vojvodina starlet has been with Eintracht Frankfurt since 2015 and is developing into an important asset for the Bundesliga side.

Mourinho is said to have been impressed with his pace and stamina despite his somewhat delicate frame as Gacinovic becomes the latest addition to Mourinho’s potential list of targets.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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