Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta given fresh hope as report outlines why Arsenal still in the race for Serie A star

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile

Arsenal sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League table reportedly makes them a more likely destination for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The Gunners are currently looking down on all their top-flight rivals, with a five-point advantage over second-place Manchester City. Mikel Arteta’s men have won 12 and drawn one of their 14 league encounters, exceeding the expectations of many fans. It remains to be seen if they can maintain their title challenge.

But Arteta will be given funds to strengthen in the winter window, according to recent reports. Many names have been linked with the Emirates Stadium, with Milinkovic-Savic among them.

But Arsenal are not the only club thought to hold an interest in the Serbia international.

Both Manchester United and Liverpool have been mentioned in connection with the 27-year-old, while Real Madrid have also been linked.

However, of the three English clubs, Arsenal are said to be the only one to have tabled a bid for the midfielder. The north Londoners’ €60m offer was immediately rejected by owner Claudio Lotito.

The 65-year-old is holding out for nearer to €100m and does not appear willing to budge on that figure.

Regardless of the numbers involved in any deal, Arsenal were ‘not a welcome destination’ for the schemer in the summer, per Corriere dello Sport.

However, the same outlet suggest that they are now ‘more tempting’ for Milinkovic-Savic.

The capital outfit finished fifth last term and missed out on the Champions League. However, they are on course to put that right in 2022-2023 and are therefore a bigger draw for any player on the move.

Milinkovic-Savic price may become more tempting

Milinkovic-Savic is currently in his eighth season for the Serie A club after moving to Rome from Genk in July 2015.

He has made 314 appearances in all competitions for I Biancocelesti, scoring 63 goals. However, the Spanish-born star will be out of contract at the end of next season.

And it will be tough for Lazio to get the price they want the closer it gets to the end of his deal. Therefore Lotito might have to compromise on his asking price.

The Gunners are thought to still want the man capped 36 times by Serbia. And rumours are doing the rounds that Arteta would be prepared to include Albert Sambi Lokonga in the deal.

The 23-year-old has failed to hit the heights since moving to Arsenal from Anderlecht in the summer of 2021.

Whether Lazio would be prepared to play ball on that proposal is unclear. But it seems as though the Premier League high-flyers are determined to get their man.

The report adds that the player’s agent, Mateja Kezman, wants to make Lazio ‘as much as possible’ from any transfer.

He may well pen fresh terms with his present employers. There will be a release clause in any new deal.

But it is thought that no new contract will be signed if that release clause is in excess of €60m.

Nothing will happen until after the World Cup and it is unlikely that Milinkovic-Savic will be on the move in January.

However, with little to report in terms of a new deal being offered, Arsenal will be monitoring the situation closely.

READ MORE: Fabrizio Romano details Arsenal chances of hijacking Chelsea move for Liverpool tormentor