Arsenal learn cut-price valuation for midfield target as he makes ‘irreversible decision’ to force summer exit
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has reportedly decided to leave Lazio for a new challenge, with Arsenal the big favourites to sign him in the summer.
The 27-year-old midfielder is now likely to depart at the end of the season after making his feelings clear to the Italian side, where he has been an important player.
Now, the question is how much Lazio would be willing to let Milinkovic-Savic leave for, with his contract set to run until June 2024.
The Serbia international has spent the majority of his career at Lazio. Since joining the club in 2015, Milinkovic-Savic has played a total of 322 games, scoring 64 goals and making 59 assists, giving him an average of 0.38 goal contributions per game.
During his time in Italy, he has won one Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italias, so he could bring the experience of winning trophies to Mikel Arteta’s dressing room.
Milinkovic-Savic is also versatile, with the ability to play as a central midfielder or as a number 10. He can be a real threat going forward but is also excellent at breaking up opposition attacks in the middle of the park.
This season, the Serbian has averaged 1.6 shots on target and 1.4 key passes per game – scoring four goals and making eight assists in the Serie A – and defensively, he makes an average of 1.4 tackles and 1 interception per game, showing how well he can read the game.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Milinkovic-Savic has made an ‘irreversible decision’ to leave Lazio, which almost certainly will result in a summer exit.
Also, because the Serbian’s contract only has 16 months remaining on it, the Italian giants will need to sell sooner rather than later to recoup a transfer fee.
It’s no secret that Arsenal have been on the hunt for a new central midfielder, after seeing a £70m bid turned down for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo last month.
The Gunners also have a long-standing interest in West Ham United captain Declan Rice and may look to sign him at the end of the season, but he could cost in excess of £100m.
With that in mind, Milinkovic-Savic could represent a cheaper, but just as exciting option. Lazio have previously demanded up to £100m for the 6ft 4 playmaker, but it is believed that £44.5m would now be enough to acquire his services.
Arsenal will need long-term alternatives to new-signing Jorginho and Granit Xhaka, given they are both now in their 30s, and the Lazio man could represent a solid option.
Indeed, with Milinkovic-Savic’s goal record and ability to create chances from anywhere, he could have the quality to make the North London club title challengers for many years to come.
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