Arsenal are willing to meet Lazio’s £55 million asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic after the Serie A powerhouse turned down a move to Premier League rivals Newcastle United, as reported by Il Messaggero, via TuttoJuve.
In recent years, Milinkovic-Savic has been likened to, among others, Zinedine Zidane and Yaya Toure. Former Chelsea striker Matija Kezman, meanwhile, infamously claimed that the 6ft 4ins Serbia international was ‘better than Paul Pogba’.
In truth, ‘SMS’ has something in common with all three. The fearsome power of Pogba. The drive of Toure. The balletic guile and elegance of Zidane; A pair of velvet feet situated on the end of those piston-like legs.
“I have coached many great players,” says Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri. “But he is one of the best I’ve ever worked with.”
High praise indeed. Especially when you consider that Sarri has shared a dressing room with, among others, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and Lorenzo Insigne.
“His progress over the last two months has been excellent and he can take another step up in quality,” Sarri adds. “He used to lose the ball too cheaply, but now he plays with more determination.”
Barely a summer goes by without Milinkovic-Savic being linked with at least one Premier League giant. And this year is no different. And, with just two years left on his contract, the soon-to-be-28-year-old playmaker is running out of time if he wants to prove himself at the very top level.
Whether the one-time Celtic target deems Arsenal a sufficient step up from Lazio remains to be seen.
Milinkovic-Savic has already turned down Newcastle United side, per Corriere dello Sport. The Magpies might have the funds and the ambition required to smash through the proverbial glass ceiling but they still have a long way to go. Milinkovic-Savic, it seems, would prefer to join a club capable of offering European football right from the off.
Arsenal, according to Il Messaggero, have already seen a £47 million bid turned down by Lazio. The Gunners are now preparing a second offer worth £55 million – one that will come a lot closer to reaching the Biancocolesti’s preferred asking price.
Arsenal have already splashed out £45 million on Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus. £55 million for Milinkovic-Savic, however, would make him the third-most expensive signing in the club’s history, behind only Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.