Although we’ve seen some big deals go through already, the transfer merry-go-round is yet to fully kick into gear this summer. There are a couple of things that could spark it into life though. The English deadline is fast approaching, and that could be a factor in the case of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
The Serbian has impressed in Serie A, and his performances have seen him heavily linked with Manchester United. The Red Devis’ interest is closely linked to the future of Paul Pogba though. The French World Cup winner has stated his desire for a new challenge ahead of the coming season, but United are holding firm and insisting their player is not for sale.
The Old Trafford outfit are believed to have slapped a valuation of at least £150m on Pogba’s head, with some reports suggesting they’ve upped the ante to the region of £180m. If either Real Madrid or Juventus, the two clubs heavily linked with the Frenchman, can come up with that kind of money, it would represent a huge profit on the then-world record £89m United paid Juve for his services three years ago, and could tempt them into a sale.
If that’s the case, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t have much time to replace Pogba, as he looks to shore up a midfield that’s lost Ander Herrera on a free this summer, and was hardly pulling up any trees last season. To that end, it’s been reported that Milinkovic-Savic’s agent, former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, has jetted to London to advance talks with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Reports in Italy have even claimed a £70m fee has already been agreed.
For that reason, the Premier League side are the 6/4 favourites to sign Milinkovic-Savic during the current window. United’s appetite for the deal hinges on a number of factors, potentially including their pursuit of other targets such as Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes and Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff, but at 24 and with neat footwork and an eye for a pass, Milinkovic-Savic represents the type of player that Solskjaer would appear to favour should Pogba be granted his wish to leave.
Aside from United, the player has also been linked with a move to Inter Milan, where Antonio Conte has earmarked him as a potential leader in his new-look engine room. The Nerazzurri are 7/2 to sign Milinkovic-Savic, but their cash could become tied up in their pursuit of Romelu Lukaku, in another deal that could free up some funds at Old Trafford, irrespective of whether Pobga goes or not.
Paris Saint-Germain come in next at 6/1, but the Ligue 1 side have targeted a couple of free transfers in this window, and are well stocked in central midfield. With their vast riches though, we can rarely discount them out of the running for a player of Milinkovic-Savic’s quality. Likewise Serie A champions Juventus, who also have other targets, but are credited with a 12/1 interest in bringing Milinkovic-Savic to Turin.