Sergej Milinkovic-Savic snubbed Arsenal and Newcastle a year ago, looking for a club that would play Champions League football, but the Gunners and the Magpies have qualified for Europe’s elite competition, while the midfielder’s price tag will likely decrease with only a year left in his contract.

The Serbia international is expected to leave Lazio at the end of the season, as suggested by departing director Igli Tare on Monday night.

“For the good of everyone, we will sit around a table and clarify this. What I say for me is also valid for him, he has a strong bond with Lazio, he admires and respects the club and coach. Anything can happen, including that he could be sold to another club,” the former striker told Sky Sport Italia.

This is only a reason why long-time admirers of SMS, including Arsenal and Newcastle, hope to finally put their hands on the 27-year-old during the upcoming summer transfer window. Football Italia can confirm both Premier League sides are still interested in Milinkovic-Savic.

The highly-rated central midfielder has another former striker, Mateja Kezman, as his representative and the ex-Chelsea forward confirmed in August 2022 that the Gunners and Magpies had been in talks for SMS. However, the midfielder rejected both clubs that would not play Champions League football.

“Honestly, Sergej and I think that these options are not for him, he wants to play Champions League football consistently in the future,” said Kezman, adding that Thomas Tuchel, a former Chelsea coach, now at Bayern Munich, is a long-time admirer of his client.

Considering that SMS wants to play Champions League football consistently, the Bavarians may be a threat to the Gunners and the Magpies who remain in the race for the Serbian.

A third transfer boost for Arsenal and Newcastle also comes from Kezman, who seems unwilling to extend Milinkovic-Savic’s contract at the Stadio Olimpico. His current deal runs out in June 2024 and President Claudio Lotito will likely reduce his asking price for his midfield star. Lazio’s demanded more than €100m last year, but according to Tuesday’s edition of La Gazzetta Dello Sport, SMS can leave in the summer for circa €30m.

It remains to be seen if it will be enough for Lazio and Lotito, probably not, but surely the 66-year-old will have to lower his demands if Milinkovic-Savic refuses to pen a new agreement with the Biancocelesti.

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