Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to put pen to paper on a lucrative new contract and put speculation over a move away from Rome to bed – for this summer at least.
The Serbian – previously targeted by the likes of Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United – has agreed a new five-year deal, which will see his annual salary double from €1.5m to €3m if all goes through as expected.
However, central to the talks was a focus on the agreement that the player would be allowed to leave this time next year. And it’s Italian champions Juventus who could be the ones to profit.
Milinkovic-Savic had hinted on a number of occasions prior to the World Cup that he was open to leaving Lazio this year, but the €150m price tag slapped on the player’s head by the club stopped any interest from becoming more concrete. Juve and Milan have retained their interest in the player, while United could decide to move for him if Paul Pogba ends up leaving.
But Juventus are now hopeful of completing a deal ahead of next season, after their €100m move for Cristiano Ronaldo meant a move this summer wasn’t financially viable. Instead, they opted to sign Emre Can from Liverpool on a free transfer to cover the position for the coming season.
Lazio spokesperson Arturo Diaconale earlier this week suggested he is “99% certain” Milinkovic-Savic will stay this summer, according to CalcioMercato. However, the report goes on to suggest that Jorge Mendes’ new found links with Juventus could help the Bianconeri in their quest to seal the deal.
Mendes has negotiated Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Turin this year, as well as Joao Cancelo’s switch from Valencia, and could now act as an intermediary on the club’s behalf to put them in the box seat.
Milinkovic-Savic scored 12 goals in Serie A last season, making him one of the hottest prospects in Italian football.