Premier League • England

Arsenal frontrunners to sign talismanic Serie A midfielder with no intention of agreeing new contract

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Lorenzo Pellegrini

Arsenal are at the front of the queue to sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and he has no intention of renewing his terms at Lazio, according to a report.

Milinkovic-Savic has been at Lazio since August 2015, when they agreed to sign him from Belgian club Genk in a £7million deal. The central midfielder has gone on to become an integral player for the Italian outfit, making 314 appearances and scoring 63 goals, as well as putting up 58 assists.

Last season, he was one of Serie A’s most prolific midfielders. He managed 11 goals and 11 assists in the competition, helping Lazio finish in fifth place.

Milinkovic-Savic has continued his form in the current campaign, notching three goals and seven assists so far to help Lazio fight for a top-four spot.

The Serbian also captains Lazio when their main skipper, Ciro Immobile, is out of the starting eleven or suffering with injury. This happened in the weeks building up to the World Cup.

Milinkovic-Savic is now back at the Stadio Olimpico following Serbia’s disappointing group-stage exit. But it doesn’t look like he will be sticking around for much longer.

He has regularly been linked with Manchester United in the past couple of seasons. Arsenal, Chelsea and Juventus are all admirers of his talent, too.

Now it appears Milinkovic-Savic is most likely to join Arsenal in the January transfer window. According to Thursday’s Euro Paper Talk, Arsenal have begun talks with the star’s representatives about a move to north London.

Arsenal ‘in the lead’ for Lazio man

Sport Witness provide an update on the transfer saga, while citing Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. They claim Arsenal to be ‘in the lead’ for Milinkovic-Savic’s signing, ahead of Lazio’s Italian rivals Juve and AC Milan. There are a couple more welcome boosts for the Gunners, too.

The first is that the 27-year-old has no intention of extending his contract with Lazio. After over seven years there, he feels it is time for a new challenge. Arsenal can offer him this, as he has never featured in the Premier League before.

Secondly, Milinkovic-Savic’s price tag has taken a dramatic downturn in recent months. With his contract running out in June 2024, and no fresh terms on the horizon, Lazio will no longer be able to demand €100m (£86m) for him this winter.

And his sub-par performances at the World Cup have done little to help his valuation, either. As such, the report estimates Arsenal could sign Milinkovic-Savic for as little as €50m (£43.6m).

This gives Arsenal the chance to land one of Serie A’s most influential midfielders for far less than this original price tag.

Of course, competition will arise from clubs around Europe. But Arsenal should work hard to get this deal over the line if they can.

Midfield is one area Arteta needs improvements in. Thomas Partey often misses 10 or more Prem matches a season due to injury, while Mohamed Elneny is not getting any younger.

Milinkovic-Savic would be a fantastic signing to take the Arsenal midfield to the next level. He could form a top-class partnership with Granit Xhaka in the middle of the pitch.

Meanwhile, a prime transfer target for Arsenal is ‘pushing’ to make the move a reality, TEAMtalk has been told.