Manchester United report: Red Devils to fight Newcastle and Arsenal for midfielder

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag looks on before an exhibition football match against Melbourne Victory in Melbourne on July 15, 2022.
(Image credit: MARTIN KEEP/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester United could turn to Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in their hunt for a new midfielder, say reports, as their efforts to bring in Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona continue to stall. 

De Jong has been United’s top target since the summer transfer window opened, but progress has been slow. 

The Red Devils were dealt a fresh blow over the weekend when Barca president Joan Laporta reiterated that he didn’t want to sell (opens in new tab) the Netherlands international.

“We received some offers for Frenkie but we didn't accept as of now, as we want to talk with him and know exactly what he wants," Laporta said.

According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, United’s struggles to get a deal over the line could see them turn their attention to Milinkovic-Savic instead.

Lazio want €70 million in cash for the Serbia international, though, and the Roman club’s owner Claudio Lotito is a notoriously hard negotiator.

Corriere dello Sport writes that Arsenal and Newcastle have contacted the midfielder’s agent, but no official bids have been made yet.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

(Image credit: PA)

Although they are both central midfielders, Milinkovic-Savic is far from a like-for-like alternative to De Jong.

The 27-year-old is 6ft 3in tall and is a strong, technical box-to-box midfielder who regularly chips in with goals and assists, rather than a tempo-dictating playmaker like De Jong. 

Milinkovic-Savic had one of the best seasons of his career under Maurizio Sarri in 2021/22, scoring 11 goals and providing 11 assists in Serie A as Lazio finished fifth.

He has two years left on his contract in the Italian capital.

More Manchester United stories 

Manchester United's Frenkie de Jong saga is taking increasingly interesting twists.

Cristiano Ronaldo has had an offer from abroad to move, as he looks to force a move. Chelsea have been rumoured to be interested – despite Thomas Tuchel's public indifference – while Erik ten Hag has insisted the Portuguese veteran is not for sale

Meanwhile, former United star Juan Mata has been rumoured to be a surprise target for Leeds United.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.