Rampant links with transfer targets happen every summer at Manchester United, especially when a manager is involved with his first transfer window.
Throw in the Red Devils recent spells outside the UEFA Champions League, and there are plenty of wrinkles this go-round.
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For great players on middling clubs like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, however, Europa League football is a step up considering Lazio’s underwhelming 2018-19 season.
Lazio slapped a nine-figure price tag on the exceptional 24-year-old center midfielder; Milinkovic-Savic was the club’s top performer last season, and chipped in offensively with five goals and three assists.
That was a far cry from his 12-goal 2017-18 season, but he’s only gotten better in his defensive contributions. Sky Sports says the player likes the idea of moving to United, but would also be happy to spend another season in Rome.
Hoffenheim’s big, young Brazilian striker Joelinton is looking to take the next step in his career, with both Wolves and Newcastle interested in the 22-year-old.
Joelinton scored seven times with seven assists in his return to the Bundesliga, which came after two loan stints with Rapid Vienna. He posted a combined 15 goals and six assists in league matches with the Austrian powers.
Newcastle is in dire need of a center forward, with Salomon Rondon reportedly on the verge of a move from West Bromwich Albion to Dalian Yifang in China.
Wolves would add a target forward with playmaking abilities much like Raul Jimenez, who is 28 and will need relief with the West Midlands club eyeing up a Europa League campaign.
The latest name to grace the Coppa Italia is Lazio.
Late goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa lifted the Roman side to a 2-0 defeat of Atalanta in the Italian Cup Final.
It’s Lazio’s 7th Coppa Italia, tied for third with Inter Milan. Juventus won the previous four to give it 13 all-time, while Roma’s nine are good for second.
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Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini was furious with officials for not consulting VAR after ex-Middlesbrough defender Marten De Roon‘s shot hit the hand of Lazio defender Bastos in the box. From the BBC:
“Are we meant to only use VAR when it’s handy? It was a penalty and a red card,” Gasperini said. “This is a scandal. Tell me why it happened? Give me some justification.”
The match was a sub-story in some areas, as fans lit a police car on fire as part of several clashes with authorities.
According to Italian journalist Franco Melli, AC Milan is getting close to a January transfer window deal for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic that would cost the Italian club $80 million.
Melli went on the radio in Italy to announce his findings, stating that Milan was close to a deal for Milinkovic-Savic over the summer, and while he hasn’t been overly impressive this season so far, they still hope to bring him to the San Siro this winter.
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The bruising Serbian midfielder has played all but one of Lazio’s Serie A games this season, but the club has slipped of late, failing to win any of its last five league matches and seeing Atalanta creep just one point back of fifth-placed Lazio.
Just 23 years old, Milinkovic-Savic would shore up an AC Milan midfield that currently features a disappointing Tiemoue Bakayoko, an injured Lucas Biglia, an injured Giacomo Bonaventura, a young and inexperienced Jose Mauri, and an aging Riccardo Montolivo who has yet to appear this season. Only 22-year-old Ivory Coast international Franck Kessie has been a mainstay in the AC Milan midfield this season.
The club has already confirmed the arrival of Flamengo midfielder Lucas Paqueta for $40 million, and it seems like Milan wishes to continue bolstering its midfield. Sitting fourth in the Serie A table, they have slipped recently, with just one win in its last five league matches and a disappointing exit from the Europa League group stage thanks to a final-day loss to Olympiakos.
Milan spending significant money is also noteworthy given the fact they were handed down a suspended European ban just one week ago from UEFA for Financial Fair Play penalties, and must earn a net spend of zero by the summer of 2021. Any significant spending must be equaled out by that time, or the club will be barred from European competition for two seasons.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was in the stands for Serbia’s 2-0 win over Montenegro on Sunday, and that’s naturally being linked to the transfer rumor mill.
Nikola Milenkovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are the names being pulled from this particular match, both high-profile (and price tag) players from Serie A.
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Now technically any coach is observing nearly every player on the pitch, but both do make sense in terms of skill (a Mourinho and Ed Woodward requirement) and age (more of a Woodward priority).
Eight-times capped center back Milenkovic, who turned 21 on Friday, is said to be a subject of United interest, having raised his profile since arriving from Fiorentina in 2017. La Nazione says United has filed a bid of approximately $70 million for his services.
Milenkovic has scored twice this season and played a little right back, too. He stands close to 6-foot-4.
Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic played the final 11-plus minutes for Serbia, and was of course quizzed on Mourinho’s interest.
Milinkovic-Savic, 23, said he read that Mourinho was there to see him, and that he was honored if that’s true, but was quick to give allegiance to Lazio.
Not to mention, the 9-times capped Milinkovic-Savic is probably going to cost well over $100 million.
Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic missed the match with an injury.
The 2018 World Cup is complete, which means we now fully turn our attention back to the club game, which means it’s time for (an abbreviated) transfer season to begin…
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With Cristiano Ronaldo out of the way — and the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and/or Eden Hazard signed to replace him (yet) — Gareth Bale is expected to remain at Real Madrid and fill the “main man” void left by Ronaldo’s move for Juventus. The 29-year-old Welshman will meet with new Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui prior to the start of preseason friendlies in the United States. Bale has repeatedly been linked with a move to Premier League side Manchester United.
However, given Bale’s troubling history of injuries since moving to Madrid in the summer of 2013, it would be unwise — and unlikely — that Florentino Perez doesn’t make at least one massive signing this summer to replace Ronaldo’s otherworldly production. It makes all the sense in the world on the field, and fits Perez’s m.o., off of it.
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The next month could see the Chelsea squad undergo a total and complete rebuild, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, one of the breakout stars of the 2018 World Cup for Serbia, is said to top the wishlist of owner Roman Abramovich and new manager Maurizio Sarri. Man United have also been heavily linked with Milinkovic-Savic, dating back to pre-World Cup rumors.
The 23-year-old box-to-box dynamo will likely cost the Blues well over $100 million — if Lazio get their way — but in return they’ll be getting a player who, alongside N'Golo Kante, will re-establish Chelsea as one of the best midfields in club soccer, and arguably the toughest to play against.
- Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Mousa Dembele has reportedly rejected a potential move to Inter Milan
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that forward Daniel Sturridge could still have a future at Anfield
- West Ham United forward Andy Carroll has reportedly been offered, on loan, to Turkish side Besiktas
- Crystal Palace and Bournemouth are reportedly both working toward signing forward Ollie Watkins from Championship side Brentford
- Everton and Bournemouth are reportedly expected to make bids for Genoa and Uruguay defender Diego Laxalt