With several of Europe’s finest at the door, the Serb’s development has not gone unnoticed and he could explode for Lazio this season without Lucas Biglia in front of him.
With Serie A now getting 4 UEFA Champion’s League spots, Lazio supporters will be hopeful of a top 4 finish. If Le Aquile are to finish in the top 4 they’ll surely need a big season out of their big Serbian, Sergej Milinković-Savić.
The 6’4” central midfielder who was born in Spain to Serbian parents is primed to have a breakout season. An imposing figure, Sergej won more headers than any other midfielder in Serie A last season, and at only 22 he is still learning his trade. Last season Sergej had 4 goals and 7 assists in Serie A. It would be a smart bet to expect him to double his goal tally from last season and rack up 10 or so assists in the process.
With the departure of Lucas Biglia, more responsibility will be put on the big Serb’s shoulders. Sergej also seems to have the trust and backing of Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi and figures to play a key role again this campaign. Milinković-Savić made 34 appearances and played 2,734 minutes last season in Serie A, two more statistics that are also likely to increase this season.
Sergej arrived at Lazio on July 31st of 2015 from Genk where he made 24 appearances and scored 5 goals before coming to Italy. His potential was made clear during the U20 World Cup that summer for Serbia where he won the Bronze Ball for his performances. Shortly after, Le Aquile moved to snatch up their man for a cool €9m, beating out Fiorentina in the process.
Since his arrival, Sergej has continued to progress and develop at rapid pace. Lazio have already rejected multiple bids for the Serbian star this summer including a £24m bid from Liverpool. The opening bid was so low that the Merseyside club would have to nearly triple their offer to £62m if they want to land their target. Sergej would then have to agree terms with the English club who haven’t won a league title since 1990. Which begs the question, would Milinković-Savić agree to leave after just lifting the Italian Super Cup, being a critical player for Inzaghi, and a promising year on the horizon for Le Aquile? One would have to question.
Similar to Paul Pogba, Milinković-Savić is at his best when he is given freedom to roam and float into spaces. His quick reactions and ability to read the game coupled with his tackling ability and physical prowess make him a strong defensive option in the midfield as well. However, the big Serb is best served in a more box-to-box role where he can create and use his attacking qualities.
If one were to try to find a weakness in Sergej’s game it would be his pace. Conversely, his timing and tactical intelligence are more than enough to compensate. Not to mention the fact that one would be hard-pressed to find a more dominant presence in the air in any league.
Strong, powerful, and imposing, Milinković-Savić has the physique one would expect of a dominant central defender. While Sergej is excellent in the air, it’s his exquisite touch, silky dribbling, and his eye for a pass that has really set the big Serb apart. This combination of size and skill is why many believe the Serbian midfielder is due for a breakout season with the Biancocelesti.