New boss Erik ten Hag has seen his Manchester United squad in action and now has a fairly good idea about where he needs to strengthen further in order to bring success back to Old Trafford.
One of the key areas where the squad is in desperate need of reinforcements is midfield. And that is why since his arrival, the Dutchman has wanted the club to target Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong and bring him to England.
United’s current senior midfield options remain thin with only Fred, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek able to play a deeper role. New signing Christian Eriksen is more dangerous when deployed further forward while James Garner is yet to catch the eye of the new boss.
Manchester United are considering a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. (Calciomercato) pic.twitter.com/pQwOv4uO3Z
— Transfer News Central (@TransferNewsCen) July 25, 2022
The former Ajax boss sees his compatriot as being key to his plans and the Red Devils have already agreed a fee with the Catalan giants worth €85 million. However, the issue of deferred wages and the Dutch international’s reluctance to move to the Premier League has meant that the impasse continues with 14 days left before United’s Premier League opener.
The Serbian midfielder has been linked with the Old Trafford outfit multiple times in the past and this latest report states that Lazio could be ready to do deal for an initial €70million, a fee that is likely to be in United’s price range.
The Lazio playmaker has been brilliant since his arrival to Italy back in the summer of 2015. Such has been his impact that he has been Lazio’s Player of the Year for the last two seasons running.
His ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder like De Jong has meant that United have revisited their interest in the player. The 27-year-old enjoyed an superlative 2021-22 campaign, bagging 11 goals and 12 assists in 47 appearances across competitions.
He is widely considered to be one of the top midfield talents in Serie A and was even named Serie A’s Best Midfielder three years ago. Arsenal have also been linked with the versatile midfielder in this transfer window.
He has made nearly 300 club appearances and won the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana twice for the Rome-based club. However, his current deal with the Le Aquile runs till 2024 and Lazio may look to cash in and get as much value as possible or avoid losing the player for a cheap sum next season.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to opt for the Serb is one that will be taken by the club if and when De Jong’s future has been settled. If they see no way to bring the Barca playmaker to Old Trafford, Milinkovic-Savic might be the next best option at the moment.
United have been linked with the likes of Youri Tielemans and Ruben Neves as well but Ten Hag has remained adamant that it is either De Jong or bust. It will be interesting to see if he sticks to his guts once the season starts and United’s midfield weaknesses are exposed.