Manchester United have recently been linked with an alternative to Frenkie de Jong, although a new interested party has emerged…
What’s the word?
According to Italian publication Corriere Dello Sport, Juventus have surfaced as a surprise candidate for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
With the Bianconeri looking to find a replacement for the injured Paul Pogba, contacts have been made with the Serbian’s agent.
United were reportedly readying a bid of around £42m last week, but Lazio are thought to want closer to £59m.
De Jong alternative
A proven midfield maestro with the ability to both attack and defend, it seems surprising that none of Europe’s elite clubs have yet managed to pry Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio.
United should seriously consider switching their interest from De Jong towards the Serbia international, or else risk ending up with no marquee midfielder for the new Premier League season.
The 5 foot 9 dynamo has been around Serie A for several years, boasting nearly 300 appearances for the Biancocelesti.
Last season, he hit double figures for both goals and assists, whilst also averaging 1.8 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game.
It therefore begs the question as to why Erik ten Hag is so insistent on haggling with Barcelona when a superior alternative to De Jong is just a boat ride across the Mediterranean away.
For comparison, the Netherlands international has only managed eight goals and nine assists throughout his entire Barcelona career, which encompasses 97 appearances. Milinkovic-Savic bettered that in one season in 2021/22.
Who should Manchester United sign?
Frenkie de Jong
The main selling point of De Jong is his ability to beat the press with his quick feet and silky dribbling, but the Serbian can compete on this front – he ranked in the 85th percentile among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues for dribbles completed over the last 12 months.
His other attributes truly make him a standout candidate, as he ranks in the top 2% for total shots, the top 4% for assists, and the top 8% for aerials won. He is an all-round midfielder and has unsurprisingly been labelled a “monster” by Sam McGuire.
The Red Devils’ midfield has lacked both creativity and a steely resolve, and these figures indicate that, in one fell swoop, this “special” player from Serbia (in the words of Forbes’ Adam Digby) could solve both issues.
If United are reportedly having to fork out €85m (£71m) plus astronomical wages for De Jong, surely it makes better financial and footballing sense to focus their interests on this 27-year-old who really can do it all, instead of losing out to Juventus.
AND, in other news: Ten Hag plotting new bid for “sensational” £71m Man Utd target, imagine him & Eriksen