Newcastle United have been linked with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic recently and the Serbia international could prove to be Eddie Howe‘s own version of teenage sensation Jude Bellingham at St James’ Park.
According to Italian news outlet Il Messaggero (via Sport Witness), Magpies chief Dan Ashworth is now ‘ready to put €60m (£53.5m)’ on the table for the Lazio attacking midfielder.
However, it is also claimed that the Serie A side are looking to earn a figure in the region of €100m (£89m) for the 27-year-old, who has been a mainstay at the Stadio Olimpico since arriving from KRC Genk in 2015.
Milinkovic-Savic has gone on to make 318 appearances for I Biancocelesti, contributing an impressive 63 goals and 59 assists in that time, so it seems clear the quality that he could add to Howe’s midfield, should he make the move to the northeast this month.
So far this season, the Serbian maestro has contributed three goals and eight assists in just 17 Serie A appearances, with WhoScored awarding him a phenomenal 7.33 rating for his performances.
For context, only Kieran Tripper (7.66) is rated higher from Newcastle’s squad, which again goes to show just how much he could add at St James’ Park.
Ciro Immobile, who plays alongside the midfielder at Lazio, was full of praise for his teammate late last year, saying:
“Trust me, Sergej Milinković-Savić is magic. He’s on the same level of Kevin de Bruyne.”
However, while he also possesses similar traits to the Manchester City star, FBref suggests that Bellingham is actually the fourth-most similar player to Milinkovic-Savic when compared with other midfielders across Europe’s top leagues.
This season has seen the two players register extremely similar statistics with regard to expected goals per 90 (0.20 vs 0.19), crosses (both 15) and passes into the final third (78 vs 84).
WhoScored also suggests that both Bellingham and Milinkovic-Savic excel at passing and playing key passes, while they both get fouled often as a result of their surges through the midfield.
Considering the teenage talent is regarded as one of the most promising in world football as a result of his performances with Borussia Dortmund and England in recent seasons, Howe would surely be foolish to turn down a player so similar.
Therefore, Ashworth should do all he can to bring the Lazio star to St James’ Park this month, as he could be a big boost to Howe’s hopes of securing Champions League football, and potentially more, this season.