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'More difficult' to keep of Milinkovic-Savic this summer, admits Lazio chief

11:00 AM EDT 7/18/19
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Lazio 2018-19
After interest from Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, the Serie A club may encounter difficulties in hanging on to their star

Lazio president Claudio Lotito insists it will be harder to keep star player Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the current transfer window.

Lotito, 62, will celebrate his 15th anniversary in charge of the capital club on Friday, and his comments will alert those who have shown a key interest in talented Serbia midfielder Milinkovic-Savic.

Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus are said to have enquired about the availability of the 24-year-old, who occupies a role as a box-to-box player and a creative outlet for his side. 

Milinkovic-Savic represented Serbia at the World Cup in 2018 having arrived at Lazio from Genk in 2015. He has since made 163 appearances in Biancocelesti, scoring a total of 31 goals. 

“We’ve created a glasshouse, where it’s understood that people can’t be forced to perform their roles in an environment where they feel cramped,” Lotito admitted to Il Corriere dello Sport

“Milinkovic has shown sincerity and responsibility, so that isn’t the case with him. He feels good here.

“Last year I managed to resist the assaults of other clubs, but this year I’d have fewer weapons if a different solution was proposed to the player.

“Let’s say that I used up some of my weapons last year.”

Reports have suggested that United have already seen a bid of €80 million (£72m/$90m) rejected by Lazio, with the Serie A side insisting on at least a €100m fee in order to part with their outstanding asset. 

They are in a good position to stick to their guns, as Milinkovic-Savic only recently extended his existing contract with the club, taking his deal up until 2023. 

At the beginning of July, it was reported that Lazio sporting director Igli Tare had flown into London to hold talks with United, however there has been no official news since then. 

The Lazio man  would represent a good replacement for Paul Pogba, as rumours persist that the Frenchman is on his way out of Old Trafford this summer.

Milinkovic-Savic fills a similar role to Pogba and contributed to his side’s attack with five goals and three assists in domestic action last season.