Arsenal have had an initial bid of €55M for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic rejected by Lazio, per Il Messaggero, a Rome-based newspaper. The paper suggests the Gunners could come back in with an improved offer and that €65M would probably be enough to convince the Serie A side to part with the 27-year old midfielder.
I don’t buy it.
First, consider the source. The story coming out of Rome reads like Lazio feeding a rumor to the local paper to drum up interest in their guy. None of the usual Arsenal names weighed in or ran similar stories. That’s not to say that only the London-based journalists get Arsenal news (remember, a Portuguese journalist broke the Fabio Vieira transfer), but when something has actually happened, they’re pretty quick to confirm the news and run their own stories.
Second, that price tag seems a bit too rich for Arsenal’s blood. The Daily Mail said Lazio value Milinkovic-Savic at £68m. They also definitively said that Arsenal have not yet bid and likely would not bid because of the price tag.
Third, at 27, Sergej is outside the age range that Arsenal have consistently targeted in their recent transfer dealings. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that Arsenal are at the “big signing to put them over the top” stage of the rebuild yet. They shouldn’t be swinging for the fences to add one of the final missing pieces to a puzzle that still needs more work.
Milinkovic-Savic is a great central midfielder. He progresses the ball, he creates shots and chances for teammates, and he scores goals. He would be a fantastic addition for Arsenal, although I have concerns about Serie A players ability to replicate their success in the faster-paced Premier League. But I think those concerns are moot because I don’t think Arsenal are in for him, and even if they are, I don’t think that they can afford him.
On to the next one.