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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Pen New Deal in 'Matter of Days' Amid Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2018

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Sergej Milinkovic Savic of SS Lazio in action during the UEFA Europa League Group H match between SS Lazio and Apollon Limassol at Stadio Olimpico on September 20, 2018 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)
Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will sign a new contract with the club in a "matter of days," according to the team's sporting director Igli Tare.

The Serb was linked with an exit throughout the summer transfer window following an exceptional 2017-18 campaign for the capital club. However, Lazio were able to keep the player beyond the transfer deadline.

It now appears the Serie A side are set to secure not only the future of Milinkovic-Savic, but also star forward Ciro Immobile. Tare was asked about both players signing new deals by Sky Sport Italia (h/t Chris Burton of Goal).

"It's just a matter of days now," he said. "All will be signed at the start of next week. The agreements have been in place for some time now."

As Burton noted, some of the biggest clubs in European football have been linked with the midfielder, including Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

According to Kaustubh Pandey of Calciomercato.com, Juventus made an offer worth €80 million (£72 million) for the Serbia star, although Lazio rejected the approach. Pandey also noted that Chelsea and Real Madrid showed an interest in the player.

Lazio came close to securing a UEFA Champions League spot last season in Serie A, as they finished the campaign as the top scorers in the competition. However, they were ousted by Inter Milan late on, prompting questions as to whether they would be able to keep hold of their major attacking assets.

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Getting both Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile tied down to new contracts would be a huge boost as a result.

Per WhoScored.com, both players were vital to Simone Inzaghi's side being such a threat in the final third last season:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: No player scored more goals from outside of the box than Milinkovic-Savic (5) of those aged 23 and under in Europe's top 5 leagues last season For more player stats -- https://t.co/n0ZDG5t7XT https://t.co/FTZxgOipKb

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Fewest minutes per goal in Serie A last season (10+ goals): 1. Ciro Immobile - every 92.7 mins 2. Mauro Icardi - every 102.3 mins 3. Paulo Dybala - every 107.5 mins 4. Fabio Quagliarella - every 143.8 mins 5. Patrick Cutrone - every 151.1 mins https://t.co/2x0JIOiXeX

Of the two, it's Milinkovic-Savic who has been the subject of the most transfer speculation, as there aren't many midfielders like him in world football.

While there are times when his desire to impress and create does see him lose possession, he's a positive force in the middle of the pitch. Milinkovic-Savic can tackle, can drive forward with the ball and has shown throughout his time in Serie A that he is productive when he does end up in dangerous areas.

Still, as Scouted Football noted, he did struggle for Serbia in midfield at the FIFA World Cup:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Tonight exemplified some of Sergej Milinković-Savić's limitations. In a deep midfield role, he struggled to readjust against Brazil's sharp interplay and movements; his passing was slow, passive and limited. He consistently shirked responsibility in Serbia's build-up phase. https://t.co/QgHrDnntNQ

Despite a new contract seemingly being imminent for the 23-year-old, the speculation about his future will continue to rumble on if he impresses in 2018-19 again. He's had a quiet start to the current campaign, with no goals or assists in the first four matches in Serie A.

After a busy summer at the World Cup and a long 2017-18 with Lazio, it may take Milinkovic-Savic some time to hit top gear again. Lazio fans will hope an extension can be a catalyst for that upturn in form.

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