Premier League • England

Lazio eye Chelsea star Loftus-Cheek as replacement for Man Utd-linked Milinkovic-Savic

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Lazio want Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek to replace Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if the Serbian leaves this summer, according to a report.

Lazio are asking for £66million from United to sell Milinkovic-Savic, who has been one of their best players this season. The central midfielder has notched 10 goals and 12 assists across all competitions so far.

The Red Devils are willing to meet Lazio’s asking price, meaning Milinkovic-Savic could become one of Erik ten Hag’s first signings at Old Trafford.

He will likely arrive as Paul Pogba’s successor in midfield. The Frenchman is gearing up to leave United once his contract expires this summer.

Of course, Lazio will need a replacement of their own. And they will have adequate funds to get him if United do match Milinkovic-Savic’s significant price tag.

According to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri likes Loftus-Cheek due to his time as Chelsea manager.

Loftus-Cheek made 40 appearances for the Blues in 2018-19 – Sarri’s only season at the helm.

He found the net 10 times, helping Chelsea win the Europa League for the second time in their history.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek a year-long target for Lazio

The England international has apparently been on Sarri’s list of potential targets since last summer. And the Italian side will act on this interest during the next transfer window.

Sarri knows he is likely to lose Milinkovic-Savic to a bigger team and Loftus-Cheek could be brought in as part of a midfield ‘restructure’.

Gazzetta dello Sport claim Chelsea want £16.8million to sell the London-born ace. However, Lazio believe they can get him on an initial loan deal.

That’s because the situation regarding Chelsea’s ownership could impact Loftus-Cheek. Should the new owner look to overhaul the squad, then Loftus-Cheek may be one of the first to leave.

A transfer to Lazio would have been perfect for Loftus-Cheek last summer. He was unsure about his Chelsea future after another loan spell, this time at Fulham.

But Thomas Tuchel is enjoying having the 26-year-old in his squad. The manager has given Loftus-Cheek 36 outings already this term.

While he has been less prolific than under Sarri – with just one goal coming his way in 2021-22 – he is putting in some good displays.

Tuchel will have to convince the new owners not to sell Loftus-Cheek if Lazio do come in with a summer offer.

Elsewhere, TEAMtalk understands Blues striker Romelu Lukaku will not be returning to Serie A later this year. Instead, a more viable destination could be Germany…