Manchester United are ready to renew their interest in Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
What is the latest transfer news involving Milinkovic-Savic?
United were linked with Milinkovic-Savic last summer, but the Serbian playmaker opted to remain in Rome for another year.
The Red Devils are now expected to show interest in the in-demand midfielder again in the upcoming transfer window.
However, they are set to be challenged by Real Madrid and PSG for his signature, whilst Milinkovic-Savic could stay at Lazio if the club qualify for the Champions League.
How much is Milinkovic-Savic worth and when does his contract expire?
In April 2020, Calciomercato reported that Lazio wanted at least €100m (£86.5m) in order to allow Milinkovic-Savic to leave. Transfermarkt value Milinkovic-Savic at a slightly lower fee, (£63m), but those to figures give a realistic benchmark.
The 26-year-old still has three years left on his contract, suggesting that Lazio are in a strong position when it comes to negotiating a fee for their prized asset.
What are Milinkovic-Savic’s stats this season?
Milinkovic-Savic has been a standout player for Lazio this term.
In his 26 Serie A appearances, he has delivered 15 goal contributions and is the side’s highest-rated performer, receiving an average match rating of 7.35 from WhoScored. Bruno Fernandes (7.49) is the only United player who has received a higher mark in 2020/21.
Standing at 6 foot 3, Milinkovic-Savic is a formidable presence in the air, and has won 3.7 duels per game in Italy this year. Once again, this would put him in the top two at Old Trafford, behind Harry Maguire (4.2).
He is technically-gifted as well, though. His tally of 34 key passes this season shows that he can unlock defences – only three United players have created more goalscoring opportunities. He also features prominently for shots per game (3.1) and tackles (2.8).
What has Kezman said about Milinkovic-Savic?
Milinkovic-Savic’s agent Mateja Kezman has been convinced about his player’s talent for a number of years.
Back in 2018, he compared his client to a couple of the best central midfielders of recent times.
Speaking to Mozzart Sport via The Sun, Kezman said: “When Sergej came to Italy, he was compared with Pogba, because at that moment it was probably the easiest comparison to make in terms of characteristics.
“I do really respect Pogba, let’s be clear, and other linkers who can run and work for the team, but I think now Sergej has different and better quality than Pogba.
“If he retains his health, he can become the most complete player on the planet. He has the touch of a Brazilian and some of the things he does remind me of Zinedine Zidane.”
Could Milinkovic-Savic replace Pogba?
Agents are known for speaking highly of their players, but with Milinkovic-Savic, the praise is warranted.
The comparison to Pogba is an accurate one. The pair are similar in their physical characteristics, whilst they also possess exceptional skill sets on the ball. They have both starred in Serie A, and now Milinkovic-Savic could well be the man to replace Pogba next year.
Mino Raiola has suggested that Pogba could depart Manchester at the end of the season, and Milinkovic-Savic would be the ideal candidate to fill the void left behind.
This season, Milinkovic-Savic has comfortably outperformed Pogba, who has managed just five goal involvements in the Premier League.
The Lazio star appears to be in his prime, and looks to be ready to make his mark in another top flight. United need someone to support Fernandes in 2021/22 if they are to close the gap to Manchester City and in Milinkovic-Savic, they may just have that player.