Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is currently one of the hottest topics in world football. The 23-year-old Serbian midfielder, who currently plays for S.S. Lazio in Italy, has attracted interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. The former, in fact, having lodged a €110M bid for his signature, which fails to meet Lazio’s €140-€150M valuation.
As Serbia prepare for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, there is an overwhelming feeling that this young midfielder could inspire the nation to cause a bit of a stir. Serbia will feature in a group with Costa Rica, Switzerland and Brazil; a relatively fair challenge. If Serbia were to finish 2nd in the group, which is a realistic goal, they would likely play Germany in the next round, bar any shock results in Group E. If Serbia manage to somehow pip Brazil to 1st in the group, they will play the runners-up of Germany’s Group E; either Mexico, Sweden or South Korea.
This season, for Lazio, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has featured 48 times in all competitions. In those matches, the Serbian scored 14 goals and assisted another six. Picking up 7 man of the match awards in Serie A, he was truly the stand-out star of the season.
Milinkovic-Savic is a complete midfielder. He is extremely aware in attack, able to use his commanding physical presence to hold up play, allowing his team-mates to run into open space. His short passing is sublime and lay-offs are ever present, allowing him to fit seamlessly into the attacking football that Simone Inzaghi has made his own at Lazio. With 14 goals this campaign, it should be evident enough that Milinkovic-Savic has an eye for goal. His long shots are enough to test even the most competent of keepers and, in most cases, leave them picking the ball up out of the net.
He is a great passer of the ball and often opts to play scooped balls over the top and into the box, ready for his attacking teammates to pounce and score. This makes him pivotal to Lazio’s chance creation and will also be a big help for Serbia as they look to perform in Russia this summer.
With all his strengths, he does still need to work on several aspects of his game and, at the age of 23, has plenty of time to do this. Sometimes, Milinkovic-Savic opts to shoot when a clearer pass is open. This can frustrate his teammates but with shooting as good as it is, you can understand why he may attempt it. Additionally, his defensive positioning and work-rate need a bit more development, which will truly help to define him as a complete midfielder.
One thing is clear: a good performance at the World Cup from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and not only will his value skyrocket, but he would almost certainly be heading for a move away from the Stadio Olimpico.