Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has admitted that the prospect of joining Juventus made him smile but insisted he was not thinking about his future as long as Serbia were in the World Cup.
Jose Mourinho is on the lookout for a young box-to-box midfielder following the signing of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk was completed on Thursday.
He is seen as the ideal fit for the profile Mourinho is after but the club have balked at Lazio’s valuation of the Serbian midfielder (around £100m).
And Milinkovic-Savic, while claiming he would not discuss his future, has nonetheless stirred the pot by refusing to deny the attraction of joining Juventus.
“The World Cup is a beautiful thing and now I’m not thinking about what to do next but only to my national team and do everything possible to reach the last 16,” he said.
“I can smile [about the prospect of joining Juventus], but I have to think solely about the World Cup. Then we’ll see what to do.”
United are currently unwilling to enter negotiations for the midfielder given his absurdly big price tag but that might change if Juventus emerges as the only team to make a serious approach for him.
Other Italian teams will be wary of selling their best players to Juventus, which only serves to reinforce the hegemony of the Turin side in Serie A. Napoli, for example, have a clause in Dries Mertens which makes it much easier for teams outside of Italy to sign him.
In that case, United could easily come to Lazio with a lower offer but one the club may prefer to agree on instead of further emboldening Juventus next year.