Premier League • England

Arsenal make contact with agent of £65m-rated midfielder as Italian source puts date on potential deal

Andrea Cambiaso, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Genoa v Lazio

Arsenal technical director Edu has reportedly held a transfer meeting with the agent of one of Serie A’s best midfielders as talks over a move to take the player to Emirates Stadium gather pace.

The Gunners are flying high at the top of the Premier League with a five-point buffer on Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side will undoubtedly continue to crank up the pressure on the Gunners though with little margin for error in the title race.

And Mikel Arteta is banking on a solid January transfer window to help further their title prospects. Indeed, he is looking for two signings to solidify his squad and enhance their chances of ending that 19-year wait for Premier League glory.

Top of his list is Mykhaylo Mudryk with Arteta desperate to bolster his attacking option. Gabriel Jesus is currently sidelined by a knee injury and will not be available for selection for another couple of months. And while Chelsea are also in the transfer race for the Ukrainian, Fabrizio Romano has revealed there is optimism at Arsenal that a deal can be done.

Arteta, though, also wants to strengthen his midfield options and is exploring a number of potential options.

The Gunners have Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka performing excellently in the middle of the park. However, concerns over their back-up options of Mohamed Elneny and Albert Sambi Lokonga is forcing Arsenal to act.

One man who does not look like he will sign though is Youri Tielemans. That’s amid claims that the Leicester star’s salary demands left Edu flabbergasted, with his most likely suitor now also emerging.

As a result, Arteta appears to be honing in on a £25m deal for Brazilian star Danilo.

Arsenal talks for Milinkovic-Savic take place

Another star who has been on their radar, though, is Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The Serbian star is regarded as one of the finest midfielders in Serie A, having got better and better over the years for Lazio.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Stadio Olimpico for a number of years. And Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Barcelona are among those reportedly keen.

However, Milinkovic-Savic has been mentioned as a target for Arsenal of late, with Arteta a confirmed admirer.

And those hopes appear to have gathered pace with the Gunners now reportedly favourites for his signature.

Now, il Corriere dello Sport confirms talks over a move to Arsenal have taken place. They claim Edu has been in contact with his agent – the former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman – over a potential switch.

His deal at Lazio is currently due to expire in summer 2024 and talks over a renewal are stalling.

As such, Lazio will have an issue on their hands as time on his deal winds down.

And while il Corriere insists a January deal is out of the question, they reckon a summer switch to Arsenal looks on the cards.

Summer move to Arsenal could be on the cards

Lazio president Claudio Lotito is also stressing his desire to retain Milinkovic-Savic’s services.

Addressing speculation on his future recently, he told Il Messaggero: “I will not sell Milinkovic-Savic. I will offer him a renewal. I reiterate, he is now worth €120m (£105.6m), and every month that passes, the price goes up.

“Milinkovic is not for sale. I turned down €140m (£120m) bid for him [years ago]. I’d ask Sergej what he wants to do only in case we receive an important proposal from a world-class club.”

With Lotito unlikely to sell in January, there is a growing theory that a summer deal may be on.

The Serbian has been with Lazio since a 2015 move from Genk. He has 63 goals and 58 assists for the Bianconeri across 316 appearances.

However, with his deal having just a year to run come the summer, reports are indicating an offer of around £65m will convince Lazio to sell.

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