Manchester United are “returning to the assault” for Lazio’s all-action central midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to a report in Italy.
Milinkovic-Savic has been a long-standing, reported target since the Jose Mourinho days at Old Trafford. The Serbia star was believed to be a replacement for Paul Pogba, but a move never got off the ground.
In fact, Repubblica stated United had agreed a five-year deal with the player last year. The outlet claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would pay an initial £75m to Lazio, with potentially another £15m going to the Serie A side in future bonuses. Nothing transpired though.
And it seems strange that the 26-year-old is back on the Old Trafford club’s radar, especially with Pogba hitting decent form.
The France midfielder was superb in the win over Tottenham. He set up Edinson Cavani’s disallowed goal, but got his assist eventually when he teed up Mason Greenwood’s late strike.
So with United having more pressing issues than central midfield – namely at centre-back and centre forward – the link to Milinkovic-Savic has come out of the blue.
Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness) though on Monday explain there is a renewed interest from a number of clubs. And one of those clubs is United. Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are the other big guns named in the report.
The suggestion is that the Spanish-born enforcer may look to move on this summer if Lazio miss out on the Champions League. Lazio sit sixth in Serie A, six points behind fourth-placed Atalanta with a game in hand.
The Rome club’s chances of dining at Europe’s top table next season look to be in the balance and with it Milinkovic-Savic’s future. The former Genk man has been in Italy since July 2015 and remains under contract until 2024.
There is certainly no apparent desire from Lazio to move the midfielder on. However, failure to finish in the Champions League places may see the player look for another challenge.
It could well be the work of the player’s agent Mateja Kezman – keeping the midfielder’s options warm ahead of the summer transfer window.
Whether or not United would have an interest is unclear. But a lot will probably depend on the future of Pogba, whose agent was making big noises about a transfer earlier in the season.
Pogba mentioned in Haaland talks
Meanwhile, Pogba was among the other topics of discussion when Erling Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola met with Barcelona, a report claims.
Raiola and Haaland’s father Alf-Inge recently went on a tour of the Borussia Dortmund’s potential suitors. The striker is one of the most in-demand players ahead of the summer transfer market. And the first club his camp held talks with was Barcelona.
Raiola and Haaland senior met with Barca president Joan Laporta, who has just returned to the club. The new chief wants to show his intentions to restore the club to their former glories.
Hence, he and other club officials held talks with the Haaland camp to see what it might take to sign him. In return, Raiola and company wanted to find out how willing they may be.
But it appears the two-and-a-half-hour discussion did not just centre around Haaland. According to OK Diario, three more Raiola clients came into the conversation.
Pogba was one of the other names brought into the talks. Raiola has previously issued a strong statement that the midfielder will be leaving Manchester United in the summer.