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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is tipped to be a Jose Mourinho target but signing him won’t be easy, or cheap

Manchester United are reportedly ready to do battle with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain for Lazio’s Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer. The 23-year-old has been standing out at the Biancocelesti in a bid to earn UEFA Champions League football next season with Simone Inzaghi’s a point outside the top four in the Serie A table.

This season has seen Milinkovic-Savic score 11 goals, also adding eight assists in all competitions, which has seen him emerge as one of the most wanted players in European football. Last summer, it was reported that Lazio turned down €70 million for the Serbian and it is suggested that he could cost €100 million or more this summer.

Rome based Italian national sports newspaper, Corriere dello Sport, have today reported that they think Jose Mourinho is looking to sign Milinkovic-Savic as part of his rebuilding plan for the Old Trafford club. It is also suggested that Lazio president Claudio Lotito will try to resist all offers for the Serbian but seems resigned to losing his star player sooner or later.

Milinkovic-Savic is contracted to the Rome-based club until the summer of 2022 and that contractual tie could be something which starts a bidding war amongst Europe’s top clubs with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain said to have an interest in the Serbian.

United manager Mourinho will be seeking a combative midfielder this summer in a bid to strengthen the midfield at the club, which will lose Michael Carrick, who is retiring and Marouane Fellaini, whose contract expires this summer. The Serbian, a former Genk player, is reportedly better than Paul Pogba, according to Mateja Kezman, the player’s agent. Kezman said:

“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. He has the touch of a Brazilian and some of the things he does remind me of Zinedine Zidane.

“Milinkovic-Savic is the most effective midfielder in Europe right now, as he can score goals in a variety of ways and has a good head on his shoulders. I’ve played with Arjen Robben, Frank Lampard and some of the best in Europe and I think Sergej can surpass them if he keeps this up. He could soon be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.”

There has been a lot said about Paul Pogba this season. The Frenchman has not lived up to the expectations at United since making his £89 million return to Old Trafford, nearly two years ago, four years after he left for Juventus. Pogba scored a stunning free-kick, also assisting for the first goal for France against Russia, with Didier Deschamps side winning 3-1.

The media have suggested that there was some beef between the Frenchman and Mourinho but Duncan Castles has stated that Mourinho rates Pogba and is looking to get the best out of him for next season. He says the Frenchman has the attributes to develop as one of the world’s best footballers but seems to be focused on music, hairstyles, and shoes, rather than his football.

The reports linking United to Milinkovic-Savic will no doubt add more fuel to the fire surrounding Mourinho and Pogba but if Castles is right, there is nothing other than the manager trying to get the best out of the player and moving his focus to football, rather than other things. Remember brand Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson?

Milinkovic-Savic seems to be a quality player for Lazio, a box-to-box midfielder with the skills to push his side forward. The Serbian has great concentration and defensive abilities, also having great dribbling, aerial abilities, also able to shoot from long-range, along with the eye to put through balls into the danger areas.

Milinkovic-Savic could be a player to unlock the best out of United’s midfield, maybe even the player to partner Nemanja Matic, or see United’s reliance in his fellow Serbian reduce, maybe even being that third man in United’s midfield that would enable Pogba to play in his favoured role, more advanced, bridging United’s midfield with the attack.

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