Manchester United (opens in new tab) won't have to fight off competition from Italian clubs if they make a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer.
The Serbia international has been in sparkling form for the Biancocelesti this season and scored a last-gasp equaliser to grab a 2-2 draw away to Juventus (opens in new tab)on Monday to clinch Europa League qualification for his team.
The Juve (opens in new tab)fans showed their appreciation by applauding Milinkovic-Savic, a player who has long been linked with the Turin club, but Sarri insists the 27-year-old won’t be joining a domestic rival.
“I hope they are applauding Milinkovic-Savic in our shirt next year too,” Sarri said at his post-match press conference.
“After speaking with the president, I’m convinced that if he leaves – something that won’t happen easily after the things I’ve heard the president say – he won’t go to a club in Italy”.
Lazio owner Claudio Lotito strikes a notoriously hard bargain, a trait that has helped the Roman club keep hold of their star midfielder since he arrived from Genk in 2015.
Milinkovic-Savic has long been linked with a move to Old Trafford, as well as PSG (opens in new tab) and Real Madrid (opens in new tab), after developing into one of the standout midfielders in Serie A during his years in the capital.
The Serbia international has enjoyed the most prolific season of his career under Sarri this term, producing 11 goals and 11 assists from midfield.
Lazio just need one point from their final home game against Hellas Verona on Saturday to seal fifth place in Sarri’s debut season, but Milinkovic-Savic underlined after the Juve draw that reinforcements will be required to kick on further.
“I've improved in several aspects under the boss, I’ve scored 11 goals and made 11 assists, so I can say that this has been my best season. A few more players are needed to reach the Champions League,” the Serbian said.
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Manchester United have been linked with a vast array of talents ever since Erik ten Hag was confirmed as manager.
Rumours persist that Benfica forward Darwin Nunez may well be bought, while Frenkie de Jong is an apparent target for Ten Hag (opens in new tab) following their time together at Ajax. Brentford midfielder Christian Eriksen is another player being talked about in relation to a move.
Paul Pogba is the headline name among the outgoing players, but he's reportedly not keen on moving across town to Manchester City. (opens in new tab)
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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.
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