Saturday, July 21, 2018

With Lazio Pushing the Bar, Who’s Out There to Claim Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Bragging Rights?

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Serbian superstar prospect Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is the man of the hour.

The 23-year-old Lazio midfielder made his full competitive debut for the Serbian national team against Costa Rica on Sunday with a performance that turned plenty of heads.

The Sergeant – as they call him in Italy – put in an allround performance for the Serbian Eagles which came as another confirmation of his boundless talent and untamed genius.

Milinkovic-Savic was one of the most notable Serbian players at the nation’s opening of the World Cup. Slotted in a more advanced position, right behind striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, Milinkovic-Savic went on to reshape the common idea of a No.10.

Serbia stand at 39/19 to beat Switzerland in their second group match and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is well-positioned for another start in Krstajic’s team.

Force to Be Reckoned With

The Serbian starlet pierced forward from behind, breaking the Costa Rica lines with incredible pace, footwork and on-ball movement. He was also a notable presence in defense where he made a significant contribution in maintaining a clean sheet.

With Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic and Manchester United man Nemanja Matic holding his back in defensive midfield positions, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was given the license to roam. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajic took a full advantage of the gifted midfielder who not only tried to create chances for his teammates but also got in a couple of goal chances himself.

His bicycle kick (unfairly deemed offside) would have been a tasty cherry on top of a sublime display for Serbia during which Sergej Milinkovic-Savic made 60 touches on the ball and completed 25 successful passes (of 38 attempts).

Competent and confident, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a dazzling dynamic threat having the entire world eating out of his hand.

Let the Hunting Games Begin

As his stock slowly goes upwards at the World Cup in Russia, Lazio are pushing the bar with their valuation of the Serbian star who, allegedly, won’t leave Rome for less than €150 million. The Biancocelesti are determined not to budge despite missing out on the Champions League and will hold out for a mega-money price tag they’ve slapped on their star’s back.

With such a high price of the Sergeant there is only a handful of clubs who would be able to match the valuation.

The big question is – will anyone?

Manchester United are long-term admirers of the Serbian star but with Fred already a Red and Willian being touted to make a switch to Old Trafford it remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho would even consider going for Sergej.

Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba are his (in)direct competition for places and even Milinkovic-Savic himself would be wise to give a good thinking to any potential United move, knowing he will have plenty of competition for places.

Juventus are another option. Bianconeri face a daunting task of grabbing the Serbian star. The Serie A champions need to fix their broken relationship with Lazio chiefs first and then hope Biancocelesti would be willing to consider a money + player summer swoop. Milinkovic-Savic’s father was quoted the other day advising his son to think of Juventus. His brother, Vanja, a Torino goalkeeper did the same earlier this summer and it appears that Juventus could emerge as Sergej’s preferred destination which could play a part in Lazio’s final decision.

Ultimately, described as Sergej’s childhood dream, the champions of Europe Real Madrid currently stand as the only viable option for the Serbian.

Paris Saint-Germain are said to be focusing on Cristiano Ronaldo but let us not forget that French outfit first needs to sort out the financial fair play issues. This leaves Real Madrid – as the only club with enough funds at their disposal – apparently ready to shoot towards Milinkovic-Savic.

Barcelona are said to be sniffing around as well, but at this point in time, Juventus and Los Blancos – who would both need to sell one of their key players to accommodate Sergej’s arrival – appear to be in an SMS standoff.

Who do you think will grab him in the end?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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