After Lazio’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, the departure of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic looks now more a certainty than a possibility. Manchester United have been favourites for a while, with the club’s manager Jose Mourinho taking a particular liking to the Serbian – wishing to partner him in midfield with French sensation Paul Pogba. However, the latest reports from CalcioMercato are suggesting that Real Madrid could still be tempted by Milinkovic-Savic, and would be willing to offer Croatian midfielder and former Inter star Mateo Kovacic.
After six years at Dinamo Zagreb, the 24-year-old Croatian moved to Inter Milan in 2013 for a fee of around €11 million. However, due to Financial Fair Play regulations, Inter sold Kovacic to Real Madrid in 2015 for €29 million. Since then, Kovacic has played over 100 games for Los Blancos but could be on his way out as Madrid set their sights on Lazio’s star Serbian.
This season, Kovacic has played in 34 games for Madrid, failing to score and picking up just one assist. However, Kovacic has been increasingly played in a central/central defensive midfield role and has had an impressive pass accuracy of 93% this season. He has made over 1.7 dribbles per game, 0.5 key passes per game and has impressed with around 1.8 tackles per game.
Usually, Kovacic would be seen as an unattainable target for Lazio. However, given that Madrid are keen on securing Milinkovic-Savic’s signature, there is a hope that Lazio could get a real asset out of the deal, as well as cash.
TransferMarkt currently value Kovacic at around €30 million; so it is thought that Lazio could receive anywhere in the region of €45-70 million as well as the player in return.
Would you like to see Kovacic at Lazio? Would he be the perfect replacement for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic?