Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd transfer latest: Juventus ready to hijack move for £88m midfield target wanted at Old Trafford for years

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, at Stadio Olimpico Football Calcio Coppa Italia, Lazio v Fiorentina

Manchester United have reportedly suffered a major blow in their continued pursuit of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The 28-year-old Serbia international, whose contract runs until 2024, has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford for a number of years – despite numerous different managers being at the helm during that time.

However, the Red Devils could never get a deal over the line and Milinkovic-Savic has now made 306 appearances for Lazio, scoring 62 goals in that time.

Last summer looked a real opportunity for United to finally get their man. And while they’re expected to firm up that interest in 2023, United men are not alone in that interest.

Indeed, La Gazzetta dello Sport states that Juventus will make an offer for the midfielder in January.

Juve are looking for reinforcements after a shocking start to the new season that sees Max Allegri’s side currently sitting eighth in the Italian top flight, 10 points behind early pacesetters Napoli.

They have also lost three of their four Champions League group-stage clashes. That is likely to lead to Juve dropping into the Europa League.

Their 2-0 defeat to AC Milan in Serie A at the weekend once again highlighted issues with their midfield.

And with Angel di Maria and Adrien Rabiot’s contracts expiring in the summer, reinforcements are expected to arrive to turn things around.

At this stage, it remains to be seen whether Lazio are prepared to do business. Indeed, they refused to sell Milinkovic-Savic for anything less than £88million over the summer.

Lazio star wants Champions League football

But his agent, former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, claimed in August that the midfielder wants Champions League football.

That reason is believed to be behind the decision to snub recent advances from Arsenal and Newcastle.

Juventus are currently in Europe’s top knockout competition. However, with their elimination all but certain, things could very soon change for the midfielder.

Indeed, Juve are already playing catch-up when it comes to qualification for next year. Allegri’s men are currently seven points adrift of fourth spot in Serie A.

If Juventus fail to book their place in the Champions League, then United once again become firm favourites to get their man.

And if Milinkovic-Savic does finally arrive in Manchester it will bring to an end one of the longest-running transfer sagas in recent times.

Erik ten Hag’s men are back in action on Thursday evening when they face Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League.

READ MORE: Serie A star’s camp rue failed sale to Man Utd amid new-season questions