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Tuesday August 14 2018
Milinkovic the biggest non-mover

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was one of the hottest names on the market this summer, but Susy Campanale wonders if Lazio are right to stick or twist?

Lazio’s biggest purchase of the summer could prove to cost nothing at all: keeping Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Few believed he would remain, considering the rumoured €100m offers pouring in from Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and even Milan. Ultimately, will it be a wise move for all concerned?

President Claudio Lotito loves to send out a message that he is the toughest negotiator in the business and won’t be the poaching ground for rich transfer tourists, the way city rivals Roma are perceived nowadays. The Giallorossi could’ve got more from Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker sales to Liverpool, yet people forget just how massive a profit they made on those two players in a very brief turn-over.

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson went from €8m benchwarmer to €62m sale in the space of 12 months. Salah cost €20m and the Giallorossi doubled their investment – with up to €50m coming in based on bonuses – in a year. A selling club they may be, but at least they’re pretty good at it.

Lazio’s determination to prove their strength has at times been counter-productive. Keita Balde Diao allowed his contract to run down until a sale to Monaco for €30m was pretty much forced upon both parties. That deal was done to prevent him going to first choice Inter and the striker ended up there anyway. Lotito played hardball with Felipe Anderson, claiming he rejected a €75m offer for the Brazilian last year. When he eventually did go to West Ham United, it was for around half that sum. Still a profit for a player who cost €7.5m in 2013, but a disappointment when talked up so much by his club.

Let’s not even get into those times when Lotito pushed his principles too far and ended up losing players from Goran Pandev to Stefan de Vrij as free agents.

Milinkovic-Savic is a genuine talent, there are few doubts about that, but the €150m asking price is off the charts. While staying at the Stadio Olimpico for one more year to develop and hone his craft is positive for the Serbian, it remains to be seen if it’ll be a good business decision for Lazio.

SMS is hot stuff in the media right now and fans are clamouring for his signature on social media, so will his market value get much higher than this? Would Lazio do better to sell when his stock is sky high and reinvest in several other players? If it’s a sporting decision, then of course the team is stronger with Milinkovic-Savic. In terms of business, Lazio don’t always know when it’s the right time to sell.

Have your say...
@zambrotta84. Football isn't for you, fella. You need to go and get another hobby. Lazio a provincial club? he he.
on the 14th August, 2018 at 2:20pm
Oh look another article from Susy where she proceeds to talk Lazio down and insinuate that Lotito is an idiot. Imagine my shock.

Football Italia, how about you don't let the biggest Lazio hater on your payroll write more blog articles about Lazio. Thanks...
on the 14th August, 2018 at 2:04pm
@ Omar, I have seen him play. Three games at WC and games against Juve, and he never impressed me. If you claim he's the most complete midfielder on the planet, you're clearly a fanboy. What has he shown? Some decent performances against midtable teams in a team that is built around him? Lazio is a provincial club, on par with Fiorentina and Atalanta. You don't see Fiorentina asking 150 million for Chiesa. There is absolutely no guarantee that he will make it at the top.
on the 14th August, 2018 at 1:21pm
Inter was not first choice for Keita. It was Juventus. They tried to sign him on a bargain price and Keita tried to force the move through. Lazio refused to sell to Juventus under those circumstances. Keita was facing a season in the stands for his antics and eventually had to go to Monaco and 30 millions was not a bad price.

So the Keita-case is actually an example of how Lotito's hardball worked.
on the 14th August, 2018 at 12:39pm
Lazio wants E150 million for this guy? Better spend the money on proven midfielders, ie. Kante, Isco, Paulinho, Eriksen, De Bruyne, Modric, Verratti, Coutinho, Pogba, Vidal, Alcantara, Toni Kroos
on the 14th August, 2018 at 12:35pm
Looks like Lotito is a high risk taker. He is betting on SMS to prove his consistency and improve, driving his price even higher. Although just the opposite is possible as in Belotti's case. Not sure if it is worth it. We'll know in a year :)
on the 14th August, 2018 at 12:32pm
Zambrotta84 clearly hasn’t seen milinkovic play. He’s the most complete midfielder on the planet and extremely powerful in the air with an excellent temperament. The hype is justified. Mark my words. But looks like some posters are haters (provincial club!)
on the 14th August, 2018 at 11:31am
Milinkovic is a good player.But no point in spending that much for him. We should catch such players when they are young. And Juve should improve their South American tapping of Youth. A guy like Lautaro Martinez should have been alongside Christiano so as to put pressure on Dybala to perform. He was cheap and sure talent. That is the way juve should do it.
on the 14th August, 2018 at 10:27am
Why would anyone pay 100 million for this guy? What has he proven? He had one or two decent seasons at a provincial club. He has never played for a top club. He has no Champions League experience, and he had an abysmal World Cup. He's a good prospect, nothing more. 50 or 60 million tops.
on the 14th August, 2018 at 9:09am
most of top clubs still wait if he is real bigshot or one season wonder, given his world cup's season was pretty average
on the 14th August, 2018 at 8:22am

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