Man United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has complete game to justify 'Mr 100 million' nickname

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is coveted by some of Europe's top clubs.

The clamour that surrounds emerging Lazio and Serbia centre midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic threatens to become the defining story of this summer’s transfer window.

Nicknamed ‘Mr 100 million’ by Gazzetta dello Sport and chased by the likes of Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Arsenal, there are few players who will cause more transfer rumours in the weeks ahead.

But what makes the 23-year-old such a coveted player?

Using statistics from whoscored.com, we’ve attempted to deduce just what makes him so special.

STYLE OF PLAY

If you’ve got a deep bank account and desire to add an all-round-threat to your midfield, then Milinkovic-Savic is the premium addition to make.

He helped make head coach Simone Inzaghi’s preferred 3-5-1-1 formation come to life. Summer addition Lucas Leiva’s presence in defensive midfield provided freedom for the €18 million (Dh76.8m) August 2015 signing from Belgium’s Genk, along with the three-man defence behind the engine room.

Allied with playmaker Luis Alberto’s fellow breakout campaign, this ensured Lazio could stake a claim to having Italy’s finest midfield.

A quantum leap was taken by Milinkovic-Savic last term. From making seven assists and scoring four goals in 34 Serie A appearances during 2016/17, this figure jumped to 12 goals and three assists from 35 run-outs.

This worked out at a goal or assist every 190 minutes in 2017/18, compared to 2016/17’s 249 minutes.

These statistics are made more impressive by the fact that from 43 matches in the top flight and Europa League, 34 came on the left side of centre midfield and only four from attacking midfield (with five as a substitute).

STRENGTHS

Managers across the world are always searching for a regular supply of goals from midfield.

In this regard, Milinkovic-Savic was almost without compare in Europe’s big-five leagues last term.

His 12-goal tally in Serie A made him the competition’s joint-ninth highest scorer. Every player who bettered this had an average starting position higher up the pitch.

Looking at fellow centre midfielders, countryman Luka Milivojevic struck 10 times for Crystal Palace. But this included seven penalty-kicks and one free-kick.

For a player who stands 1.91 metres tall, it is no surprise to learn that Milinkovic-Savic dominates aerially. His average of 2.9 headers won per Serie A match was the joint-ninth highest in the competition.

There was no lack of involvement when Lazio were in possession. An average of 50 passes per match was the third highest for the Rome outfit.

His average of 0.3 through balls per game was only bettered by Alberto’s 0.4.

When you are potentially paying up to €150m (Dh640.1m) for Milinkovic-Savic’s signature, availability is a key concern. His 2,850 Serie A minutes was only bettered by three team-mates, while Netherlands centre-back Stefan de Vrij (36) and former Brazil anchorman Leiva (35) were the only outfield players to improve on his 33 starts for the blue residents of Stadio Olimpico.

WEAKNESSES

Milinkovic-Savic is a box-to-box midfielder who gets through more than his fair share of defensive duties (averaging a respectable 1.6 tackles per 2017/18 Serie A match).

But with this diligence to do the dirty work comes a down side. His average of 1.7 fouls per league match last term was the highest at Lazio by some distance – Bosnia left wing-back Senad Lulic was second with 1.3.

Only 18 players in the whole of Serie A had a higher average.

A lack of precision when in possession is also apparent.

His pass-success rate in Italy’s top flight was 79.9 per cent. A total of 15 Lazio team-mates could better this figure.

CONCLUSION

The positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to assessing Milinkovic-Savic’s worth.

Aged just 23-years old, the few inadequacies in his game could soon be ironed out with greater experience and dedicated work on the training pitch.

Looking at his two leading suitors, no United centre midfielder came close to his 12-goal tally – France’s Paul Pogba scored half this amount in the Premier League.

At PSG, stylish Italy centre midfielder Marco Verratti’s average key passes of 1.3 per Ligue 1 game was inferior to Milinkovic-Savic’s 1.5.

Throughout Milinkovic-Savic’s time in Italy, his scoring tally has steadily increased – two in 2015/16, four in 2016/17 and 12 in 2017/18.

The thought of this number growing in the seasons to come will convince sides to back an emerging talent without compare.

Most popular

Man United dealt a blow as Samuel Umtiti says Barcelona would have to kick him out

David Cooper 28/05/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Samuel Umtiti

Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti says voiced his desire to remain at the club next season.

That comes as a blow to Manchester United who have been tracking the Frenchman with the view of a potential move in the summer.

Umtiti’s contract negotiations had stalled this season and his €60 million release clause made him a bargain in the transfer market.

However, the Catalans have since made progress in talks with the player and a bumper new contract that will make him one of the highest paid players at Camp Nou seems imminent.

“What I wanted was the negotiation that I’ve already had with them and I’ve always been very clear about what I wanted,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe.

“I have been clear that I want to renew with Barcelona and I want to be here next season. I’m at a club that has allowed me to fulfil my dream of playing for them and want to stay.

“I’m in charge of my future so for me to go, the club would have to kick me out.”

Most popular

Related Tags

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic prefers Man United move ahead of Real Madrid, PSG and Arsenal

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Coveted Lazio centre midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic prefers to make a €120 million+ (Dh514m+) summer switch to Manchester United ahead of rival interest from Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, according to reports.

Milinkovic-Savic, 23, is hot property after a stellar Serie A campaign that featured 12 goals and three assists. But this form could not ensure Champions League qualification for Simone Inzaghi’s men.

Radio Sei state that the Serbia international has told agent Mateja Kezman that Old Trafford is his preferred destination. This is because of a desire to work with manager Jose Mourinho, plus the project at the club.

The Premier League side have proposed a €120m deal – an offer that falls short of €150m (Dh642.9m) packages by PSG and Arsenal.

Madrid’s interest is not as concrete.

Most popular