The 27-year-old has grown into one of the best midfielders in the world in the Italian capital over the last few years, regularly being linked to top clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. Milinkovic-Savic was an obvious pick for the Serbia squad for this World Cup and he’ll be hoping to play a leading role for his country in Qatar.
Milinkovic-Savic is at an interesting point of his career heading into the World Cup. The Serbian midfielder, who has been with Lazio since August 2015, only has 18 months left on his contract in Rome. His agent Mateja Kezman asked the club to postpone renewal negotiations until after the tournament, when the January transfer window will be open.
Recent media reports have increasingly linked Juventus with a move for Milinkovic-Savic. The Old Lady’s appreciation of the 27-year-old has been no secret for a long while now but Lazio president Claudio Lotito has always held firm, demanding €100m or move for the player’s signature.
With 18 months left on his contract with Lazio, Lotito’s position is now significantly weaker. An impressive World Cup by Milinkovic-Savic would be the perfect advertisement of his qualities on the world stage, making him a likely target for the biggest clubs across Europe.
Should top teams like PSG, Manchester City or Bayern Munich come seriously calling in January, it would be hard for Lazio to resist, especially if they want to respect Milinkovic-Savic’s long term loyalty to the club.
The 27-year-old Serbian midfielder has clearly proven his abilities as one of the best in his position under Maurizio Sarri this season, scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 20 appearances across all competitions.
Looking at the underlying numbers, Milinkovic-Savic’s contributions to Lazio immediately stand out. This season, he’s averaged 2.89 shot-creating actions per 90, 0.78 goal-creating actions per 90, 4.06 progressive passes per 90 and 74.5 touches per 90, show his status as the beating heart of the Biancocelesti squad.
The World Cup is now Milinkovic-Savic’s moment to shine. Serbia have been drawn into Group G of the tournament alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon, three difficult opponents all looking to progress to the knock-out stages.
Stringing together a run of positive performances for his national team could be vital in determining the path his career takes in the coming years. He is already a fairly experienced international, scoring six goals and providing seven assists across 36 caps.
Milinkovic-Savic didn’t show his best at the World Cup in 2018, failing to contribute to a single goal as Serbia exited at the group stage. This tournament he’ll be hungry to make a difference, both for his national team and the future of his club career.