Man Utd may have to break the bank to sign Milinkovic-Savic after Lazio chiefs admission

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Lazio president Claudio Lotito has insisted that star player Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is not for sale this summer amid rumoured interest from Manchester United. Milinkovic-Savic is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in Serie A and has regularly been linked with a move away from Lazio, but Lotito has rejected suggestions the club would sell.

Milinkovic-Savic has enjoyed an eye-catching campaign for Lazio, racking up 10 goals and 11 assists in 35 league appearances. The 27-year-old has been a consistent performer for the Rome club, playing 292 games since joining the club in the summer of 2015. He is under contract with Lazio until June 2024, giving them some security over his future.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported last month that United were ‘ready to get serious’ about trying to sign the Serbia international this summer. They are far from the only ones interested in Milinkovic-Savic, though, with Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Inter Milan all keeping tabs on him.

Lotito says those rumours are immaterial because he does not want to sell – and has previously turned down an offer of £120million for his signature. “You always talk about money, I [talk about] technical and personal qualities of my players,” the Lazio chief told Goal.

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“Milinkovic is not for sale, I rate him a lot. I have never put him up for sale, is there a ‘for sale’ sign? In order to sign him, you need someone to sell him… I rate Milinkovic a lot, he is a game changer and we have a great relationship. If a big club comes in for him, I would ask the player what he wants to do.

“At my club, we prioritise the human over the financial [aspects]. When I received an offer of €140m, I didn’t sell him. I am the only case in world history. Today there is an issue with regards to respect towards the man and player.”

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Manchester United are ready to overhaul their squad this summer following their worst ever Premier League campaign. They will give incoming manager Erik ten Hag £100m to bring in new players, with central midfield one problem area with Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic all set to depart.

It seems that Milinkovic-Savic might prove a tough nut to crack for United however. His agent Mateja Kezman recently dismissed rumours of his client moving to Juve. “It’s fake news,” he told TuttoJuve. “I have never given interviews in the last period, some journalists are really incredible! I’m very angry, it is a lack of respect towards me, towards Sergej and Lazio.”

Milinkovic-Savic has been similarly dismissive of rumours linking him with a move away from Lazio. “My departure? They write about it all the time. I read, but it comes in in one ear and out of the other,” he said in January. “When there was something concrete, the company did not let me go, I stayed, I extended the contract and we started a new cycle together. I still have two years on my contract and we’ll see what happens.”

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