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Manchester United want to sign Serbian midfielder this summer – reports

Manchester United have reportedly reignited their interest in Lazio’s Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to want the 25-year-old to line up in midfield with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba next season – adding some power, pace and steel to his midfield ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season with United expected to challenge the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for Premier League glory.

According to FootMercato, reported by The Sun, the Old Trafford club are preparing a summer move for the Lazio midfielder. If this is true, it could be good news for United. However, there always seems to be rumours linking the club with as many players as possible and supporters will need to weigh up whether there is anything solid in the reporting. In this case, I would say no but that is just my opinion. It is, however, stated that United will have competition from Real Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, which seems a little strange to be honest.

Real Madrid are, according to rumour, not making any plans to sign any big name players this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. Chelsea seem to have spent a lot of money already this summer and it would suggest that their name is being used, probably along with United and the Madrid club. Spurs might be in the market for another midfielder, however, a high fee might be a problem for them as they are not know to splash the cash, which is part of their problem.

Paris Saint-Germain are reported to have already made a £54 million move for the Serbian midfielder this summer, which was rejected by the Italian club. It is suggested that £90 million would be required to sign the player this summer but some seem to think that £63 million could be enough to get a deal done, which if true could be a good deal for the player, providing he does start to show promise once again, like he did a few seasons ago for the Italian club, which saw him linked to United and others at the time.

This season, in 41 appearances for Lazio, Milinkovic-Savic made a total of 41 appearances playing in the Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa League. The Serbian has scored eight goals, adding eight more assists, which is a good rate of goals and assists from the midfield. The player is a central midfielder and does not play any other positions but in terms of creativity, he has a good head on his shoulders. It remains to be seen whether United can play without a defensive minded midfielder on the pitch but on paper, this could work.

The Serbian is contracted at Lazio until the summer of 2024, meaning that the club will not be in a rush to sell the player and will be holding out for the best deal with the player seemingly holding out for the best club, which could make things complicated. Of course, this report could have been leaked in order to get the player an enhanced contract at the club. This has been seen many times in the past with players linked to multiple clubs and ending up remaining at their club signing a new bumper contract. Cynical I know but it happens a lot.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United interested in Ciro Immobile in bid to find replacement for Romelu Lukaku – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have found a replacement for Romelu Lukaku nearly a year after the Belgian striker left the Old Trafford club. Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is reportedly now on United’s radar despite securing Odion Ighalo for the remainder of the 2019/20 season and up until the end of January 2021.

Lukaku left the Old Trafford club last summer after a two-year stay at the club with Inter Milan signing the player for £76.5 million. Last summer though, Solskjaer decided not to pursue a replacement for the player, needing to delve into the transfer market, albeit a loan, for a striker after a long-term injury to Marcus Rashford.

Italian news source Calciomercato has reported that Solskjaer now sees Immobile as the perfect replacement for Lukaku and that the 30-year-old has been complimented by United’s reported interest, leading to a suggestion that he is open to a move to the Theatre of Dreams. Now, Immobile is not the first striker to be linked and won’t be the last.

This season, Immobile has played 33 times for Lazio, albeit before the coronavirus pandemic caused world football to be suspended, scoring 30 goals and seven assists in all competitions. Serie A is returning this month with the Coppa Italia resuming this week. Immobile has a contract at Lazio which expires in the summer of 2023.

In the absence of Lukaku this season, Anthony Martial has been the main striker at the club, also getting his former number nine shirt back. The Frenchman has scored 16 goals and five assists in 34 appearances this season, with a return to action on Friday with United travelling to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

Martial needed support after blowing both hot and cold this season and with Rashford’s injury, got that in Ighalo, who will play half of next season at the club too. Immobile is a good striker but is he the player that Solskjaer needs? He’s not young but has experience, which could help Martial, Rashford and Mason Greenwood, which would be a bonus.

Manchester United on ‘red alert’ as Lazio admit £80 million midfielder’s future is in his own hands – reports

Lazio have admitted that the future of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is in the players own hands. The 25-year-old has had many teams in Europe tracking him over the years but it would also be safe today that the player is not in the same form that he was a few years ago – which could affect the number of clubs actually interested in the player.

In the past, despite a number of rumours linking the Serbian midfielder to club such as Manchester United, the Italian club have always responded with comments stating that the player was not for sale. However, it has been revealed by the sporting director of Lazio that if the player wants to leave the club, he can leave.

This season, before the coronavirus pandemic suspended world football, Milinkovic-Savic made a total of 31 appearances for the club, playing in the Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa League – scoring five goals and a further seven assists. During the 2018/19 season, in 41 appearances he scored seven goals and three assists.

During the 2017/18 season, which was probably his beat at Lazio, Milinkovic-Savic made a total of 48 appearances, scoring 14 goals, assisting a further eight. This was the summer he was linked to United Wirth many thinking a move would actually happen and the following summer, with Paul Pogba linked elsewhere, the rumours started again.

Comments from the Lazio sporting director Igli Tare will most likely start the speculation once again that United, or even Chelsea, who has also been looking at the player, could finally sign the player they are rumoured to want to complete their team. Whilst speaking to Sky Sports Italia, Tare stated:

“The player’s desire is crucial. Generally speaking, if a player thinks that their time is up and wants to go somewhere else, it shouldn’t be a problem.

“Eras come to an end. The fact he stayed in Rome for five years is because he has strong links with the city and club.

“When there was some temptation, a bit on our part, a bit on his, we never went all the way. However, things must be assessed at the end of the season.”

The 25-year-old has a contract with Lazio that does not expire until the summer of 2024, meaning he has at least three years remaining at the club this summer. This would give the Italian club a lot of leverage and that whoever wanted to sign the Serbian would pay a premium to do so. It is suggested that £80 million could be enough this summer.

Milinkovic-Savic started out as a youth player at Sporting Clube de Portugal before moving to Grazer AK in Austria, then Fudbalski Klub Vojvodina in Serbia. It was here the player found first team football playing 16 times, scoring four goals and one assist. He was then sold to Belgian club Genk in the summer of 2014.

Whilst playing for Genk, Milinkovic-Savic made 24 appearances for the club, scoring five goals and a further assist. In the summer of 2015, the Serbian was sold to Lazio where he has made a total of 194 appearances, scoring 36 goals and a further 26 assists. If he wants to leave the club this summer, starting again in pastures new could be a good challenge.

During his career, Milinkovic-Savic has won the Serbian Cup with Vojvodina, and the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana with Lazio. Internationaly, the 25-year-old has been capped 15 times by Serbia and has yet to score a single goal. As a youth player for Serbia, he helped win the UEFA European U19 Championship in 2013 and the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2015.

copyright: JW