By 90Min
July 28, 2019

Sergej Milinković-Savić doesn't play like a man who's worth £90m

That isn't intended in a nasty way; amid all this speculation of a big-money move to Manchester United, Milinković-Savić isn't trying to force a move away from Lazio, neither is there any sign that his effort levels have dropped. 

He's played in nearly every pre-season friendly for Le Aquile, even bagging himself a couple of goals. Still, the rumours of a move to Manchester United only grow stronger, to the point we Lazio fans can no longer dismiss it as tabloid rubbish. 


And while it's hardly a done deal - it does look increasingly likely he'll leave the Italian capital for Old Trafford. With this in mind, here's a few things Manchester United fans should expect from the midfielder should he sign.


He Can Do a Bit of Everything (But...)

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If you were to highlight what the issue was with most big money flops, what is it? Is it a failure to adapt to a new league? Perhaps he couldn't handle the pressure? Most of the time you'll find that the manager has signed a player that doesn't suit his system and is, as a result, played out of position. 

Simone Inzaghi, the Lazio manager, prefers Milinković-Savić right in the middle, though he has been played in a more attacking role on occasion. This way he is the focal point of a counter-attack, whether he passes to another midfielder or winger, or chooses to dribble forward himself. He can do both well.


Don't let his physical prowess deceive you, yes he'll win tackles, yes he'll contribute defensively, as should any central midfielder, but he hasn't played as a holding midfielder since his Genk days. He can play well there, but it would be a waste of his abilities. Put him in dead centre or just behind the striker to unlock his full potential. 


He Can Pass

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Milinković-Savić's ability to pick out key passes and through balls has been cited as a couple of his strengths. The Serbian international averaged 1.5 key passes per game and had a pass success rate of 79.6%. 

This doesn't seem amazing on the surface - and it isn't. But something to consider is that Lazio could only finish eighth in Serie A last season and struggled to find the back of the net (especially in comparison to 2017/18). 

If it wasn't for his passing, his work-rate, Lazio would've probably been even worse. That's part of what makes his probable departure scarier from a Lazio fan's perspective.


He'll Become a Goalscoring Hero

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After 82 nailbiting minutes in the Coppa Italia final, Milinković-Savić did what he does best. Lucas Leiva delivered a superb corner which met the head of Milinković-Savić - who easily towered over the Atalanta defence - to put Lazio a goal up. The visible happiness on his face as he sprinted over to celebrate with the Lazio ultras says everything about him - he plays for the badge. 


In short, he doesn't buckle under pressure. If you need someone to score a header in the 90th minute, it'll be him. In 2017/18, the Serbian scored 12 Serie A goals, with three of these coming from his head. He didn't quite reach those heights last season, but then again, neither did anyone else. 


He's Only Going to Get Better

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As much as it pains to say it, Milinković-Savić will probably never achieve his full potential at Lazio. Lazio are a team destined for the Europa League and if they do really well they may sneak into fourth, but never more than that.


Despite their recent shortcomings, there's no denying that Manchester United have an incredibly talented squad and at the age of 24, Milinković-Savić is still a few years away from his peak. His game will inevitably improve among players who are more equal. Perhaps more importantly, he will have the opportunity to win more trophies. Not now of course, but United will eventually return to the top.

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