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Newcastle: Magpies pursue Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Newcastle: Magpies pursue Sergej Milinkovic-Savic -Newcastle United News

Newcastle are in the running to sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness).

The lowdown

Newcastle are working on deals to sign centre-back Sven Botman from Lille and striker Hugo Ekitike from Reims, having already signed left-back Matt Targett permanently.

But manager Eddie Howe may also want to strengthen his midfield during the transfer window.

Milinkovic-Savic is predominantly a no. 8, though he can play in an attacking midfield position too.

The 27-year-old started 36 of a possible 38 Serie A games under Maurizio Sarri last season, underlining his importance to Lazio.

The latest

The report states that Newcastle and fellow Premier League side Arsenal have entered the race to sign Milinkovic-Savic.

Neither side can offer the carrot of Champions League football, after Newcastle finished 11th and Arsenal fifth, but that may not disqualify them from contention.

Lazio are said to be aware that Milinkovic-Savic’s price will continue to drop as he enters the final two years of his contract.

But they’ve still set their demands at €65million (which equates to about £56.4million) plus bonuses.

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The verdict

Newcastle’s transfer record currently stands at £39.6million, the fee they paid to sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim in 2019 – is it worth breaking to land Milinkovic-Savic?

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Well, his record of 11 goals and ten assists in last season’s Serie A is hugely impressive for a midfielder, ranking him in the 97th and 96th percentiles across Europe (via FBRef).

He’s able to advance the ball through dribbling (1.2 per 90, 85th percentile) and can find space to receive progressive passes (6.17 per 90, 98th percentile).

The Serbian is similar in profile to Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and even Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, according to his numbers.

What’s more, he’s collected a litany of individual honours, including two Lazio Player of the Year awards (2020/21 and 2021/22) and the Serie A midfielder of the year prize (2018/19).

Team-mate and former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes ‘he has everything a top player needs to have’ and called him ‘unmarkable‘ in the air. There’s a compelling case to make an offer.

In other news, Newcastle have made a bid for another Serie A player.

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Article title: Newcastle: Magpies pursue Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

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