Sergej Milinkovic-Savic Extends Lazio Contract amid Transfer Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 1, 2018

Lazio's Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic   celebrates after scoring a goal  during the Italian Serie A football match between SS Lazio and Genoa CFC at the Olympic Stadium in Rome on September 23, 2018. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has signed a new five-year contract at Lazio, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2023 amid a swell of rumours linking him with Premier League powerhouses. The new contract reportedly contains no release clause.

Lazio announced the news Monday via their official website (statement in Italian). Football Italia confirmed the Serbia star, along with team-mate Ciro Immobile, had each agreed to new deals; the playmaker's previous contract expired in 2022.

Milinkovic-Savic's new terms are said to be worth €3 million (£2.6 million) per year plus bonuses. Mirror Sport reported Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur all had scouts in place to watch him score in Sunday's 4-1 win over Genoa, while Manchester United have also been linked.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare was quoted in late September and sounded confident of the club's most prized asset prolonging his stay at the Stadio Olimpico, per Goal:

The 23-year-old enjoyed the best season of his career thus far last term and was a fundamental cog in firing Lazio to fifth in Serie A as well as winning the Italian Supercup and reaching the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

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Lazio president Claudio Lotito told Il Tempo (h/t Football Italia) after the transfer window he had rejected a substantial offer for his star man—but he promised coach Simone Inzaghi that he wouldn't take the money:

I made a pact with the coach that I wouldn’t sell him over the summer. 

We received a very big offer for him a day before the market shut and we had a plan to replace him, but there wasn’t enough time.

Some well-meaning people decided to bring the deadline forward in my absence, but the League has opened itself to damage, taking away the possibility of doing deals until August 31 like in Spain or France.

When a bid arrives on August 17 and the market shuts a day later, I couldn’t sell him, above all for the promise I made to the coach: I honour the promises I make.

Lotito continued to say the bid was "obscene," one he said "no-one else in Italy could’ve refused."

Meanwhile, the player's agent, ex-Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman, said Milinkovic-Savic was motivated to stay in Rome, per Eleven Sports:

The absence of a release clause means there is no set amount a club can bid at which Lazio are forced to allow their player to negotiate a transfer, and only at their discretion should any talks now materialise.

Lotito added that only time would tell if his decision to reject such a sizeable offer would pay off, but the club have clearly displayed their belief in the Serb star with a new deal nonetheless.