Barcelona Reportedly Join Transfer Race for £120M Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

TURIN, TORINO - APRIL 29:  Sergej Milinkovic Savic of SS Lazio celebrate a opening goal during the serie A match between Torino FC and SS Lazio at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on April 29, 2018 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)
Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Barcelona are reportedly ready to rival some of European football's biggest clubs in the pursuit of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

According to La Repubblica (h/t the Daily Mirror), the Blaugrana are poised to battle with the likes of Manchester United for the Serbia international, who is said to be valued in the region of £120 million by the Serie A outfit.

Barcelona are said to be willing to include Rafinha, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Inter Milan, as part of any deal.

Milinkovic-Savic has blossomed into a wonderful footballer at the Stadio Olimpico and stood out for Lazio last term. With that in mind, it's not a shock to see Lazio value him at such an extraordinary amount.

Journalist Arjun Pradeep said there has also been speculation in Italy that Juventus will seek to sign the midfielder:

Arjun Pradeep @IndianRegista

🇮🇹 📰 | Front pages of Corsport & Tuttosport: "Sergej-Juve, Mendes is tempted" The destiny of Sergej depends on Mendes. "So give us Milinković-Savić" Juve's season tickets rise by 30%, pushing the fans to demand a big signing. Juve's objective, now more than ever, is Sergej. https://t.co/kTcqhusDIL

Milinkovic-Savic joined Lazio from Genk in 2015, and since forcing his way into the team at the Olimpico on a regular basis, the Serb has been getting better and better.

The 2017-18 season was the finest of Milinkovic-Savic's career so far, as he was the driving force behind a Lazio team that scored more goals than any other in the Italian top flight.

Milinkovic-Savic has so many positive attributes in his game.
Milinkovic-Savic has so many positive attributes in his game.Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Whether playing as an orthodox midfielder or in a more advanced role in support of a centre-forward, Milinkovic-Savic is a huge threat. His physicality makes him difficult to barge off the ball, while his turn of pace and close control mean he can burst past rivals and get at opposition defences.

Journalist David Amoyal believes he's already at the same level as some of the world's best midfielders:

David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal

@RyanBaldiFW @StephenScouted I’ve watched both with my own eyes a ton, I have a hard time seeing how Pogba was better in Serie A than MSM- especially when I consider how often MSM played his best against the top teams

Barcelona would be an interesting destination for the Serb, as he has the attributes to thrive in a side that's centred around excellent technicians and keeping the ball.

With Andres Iniesta having left Barca, there is a void to fill in midfield, although he and Milinkovic-Savic are different in terms of style. Still, the latter would give the Spanish champions added power and an extra goal threat from this portion of the pitch.

Barcelona did spend huge money to get Philippe Coutinho, who many have tipped to step in for Iniesta, and while he has excelled recently, Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC wants to see more from the Brazilian:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Barca sub at HT is Semedo on for Coutinho - whose gonna have to step up a lot next year if he is to step into Iniesta's shoes.

Even so, it would be a shock if Barcelona did part with the kind of money mentioned to get the Lazio man, as they are well stocked with midfield options and need to strengthen other areas of the team.

Lazio failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, a competition Milinkovic-Savic will surely have ambitions to play in. With that in mind, if a huge offer does come in for the midfielder, the capital club may find it tough to turn down.