Manchester United targeting a deal for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
According to journalist Nicolo Schira (h/t ESPN), Manchester United are battling Paris Saint-Germain to seal a deal for Lazio ace Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The midfielder played a crucial part in the club’s recent victory over Genoa, with the club likely to finish in the top half of the table before closing for the festive break.
The 26-year-old began his career in the youth setup of Austrian club GAK Youth before moving to Serbian outfit Vojvodina. He made their senior team in 2013 and KRC Genk snapped him up a year later. After just making 24 appearances at the Belgian club, Lazio decided to bring the youngster to Italy. The midfielder has now arguably become the main player at the Serie A club but could be heading for an exit in the summer.
Is it the right time for him to leave Italy? And is he the man to turn things around for Man United?
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic could replace Paul Pogba at Man United
Since signing in 2015, Milinkovic-Savic has racked up 270 appearances and could hit the 300-mark by the end of the season. In this time, he has scored 52 goals and 44 assists, making nearly 100 goal contributions in six and a half seasons. Thus, he could surely benefit any club that manages to secure a transfer for him in the coming transfer windows.
Man United are in the mix and could instantaneously replace him for Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is currently undergoing the recovery process for his injury but shall be out of contract in the summer. Real Madrid, PSG, and Juventus are keen on signing him once his deal expires at the end of the season.
His departure will free up room on the wage bill and in the squad. Moreover, Donny van de Beek is also considering his future at Old Trafford and might move in January or in the coming summer. Nemanja Matic shall also be out of contract in 2023. Fred and Scott McTominay have been reliant under Ralf Rangnick but have a mistake in them, especially in the big games.
Thus, it would be a good idea to bring in Milinkovic-Savic into the ranks. The Serbian international has a fantastic fitness record and has maintained consistency over the last half a decade. At the same time, he has developed into an innate box-to-box midfielder that can assist the attack and provide the necessary protection to the backline.
Signing younger players could be the ideal solution but when a player of the Lazio ace’s quality comes along and is available in the transfer market, it is better to capitalize rather than regret it later.
Man United will have to negotiate for a reasonable fee for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
The 26-year-old is set to leave the Italian club in the summer, but he shall command a grand fee. It is thought that Le Aquile is looking to recoup at least €70-€80million for their prized asset. Man United were ready to shell out €60million for the Serbian in 2019 but may not be keen on a heavy price tag anymore.
The midfielder is two years older now, although a far more experienced player as well. But a lot could depend on how they shape their transfer budget. They are known to be big spenders, as evidenced by their £130million spending in the summer this season. However, they are eyeing a holding midfielder, and if they hope to sign a top-class one, it is not going to come cheap.
Milinkovic-Savic has little experience playing as a No 6, as he has more often than not played alongside one. Moreover, with Paul Pogba likely to leave on a free transfer, the Red Devils will not be earning a penny from his departure. Thus, if they wish to hand over a big cheque after signing a defensive midfielder, the Lazio star could be their man. But they would need to move fast because PSG are also keen on adding him to their squad next summer.
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In all honesty, he would add a lot of quality and professionalism to the midfield line. Fred and McTominay are hard workers but slightly lack technical quality on the ball. The Serbian ace could help out in this department and shore up the centre of the pitch, which currently looks a tad vulnerable.