The skills of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic were clear since the first game he played with Lazio and his rise to stardom has been irresistible over the last calendar year. The Biancocelesti managed to snatch him away from Fiorentina at the last minute and they are reaping great benefits on the pitch. It will be an extremely rich pay day when they will decide to cash in on him, but he is only 22 and could decide to enjoy him for a little longer.
His combination of size and playmaking make him almost impossible to guard. He also tends to play between the lines, in a no man’s land where he thrives because he usually has some room to operate. His physical tools always helped him, but his growth has been fuelled by visible improvements from the technical standpoint. When he first arrived, he was more way more comfortable as attacking midfielder, but now he can easily cover the box-to-box position, which is probably where he will spend most of his time in his career.
In his lone season in Belgium after the move from Vojvodina, he tallied six goals in 24 appearances. He scored once in his first season in Serie A, when he featured sparingly, then in 2016/2017 he finished with seven goals and ten assists between the Italian league and the domestic cup. The coach Simone Inzaghi fully learned how to use him in properly and his value skyrocketed. He has scored once this season, a stunner from long range against Chievo Verona: in a time when the attack was heavily undermanned due to injuries, primarily to Felipe Anderson and Luis Nani, his partnership with Luis Alberto right behind Ciro Immobile has propelled Lazio to the top positions in the standings.
He is obviously a force in the air, but also a good passer. He is averaging 2.4 shots per game, 1.6 key passes and 2 dribbles, per WhoScored. He has completed 82% of his passes and has dished 0.2 through balls and 2 long balls per game, per WhoScored.
The president Claudio Lotito said that he turned down a €70M offer for him in the summer: while he can be a little bombastic in his statements, there is no denying that there is a lot of interest in the young Serbian. Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus and Inter have all been rumoured to be after him at some point. His versatility make him an extremely palatable prospect. Despite the buzz, Milinkovic-Savic recently extended his contract till 2022: Lazio is a very expensive boutique and will try to hold onto him as long as possible. They paid €6M two years ago from Genk and recently gave another €9M to the Belgian club to waive their rights on the 50% of the money received from future sale. At €15M, he is still one of the best bargains in Serie A and the Biancocelesti are project to at least triple that sum when they will ship him.
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