Man Utd target Milinkovic-Savic references Pogba as an inspiration

By Sports Desk May 16, 2022

Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic cited Manchester United's Paul Pogba as an inspiration as speculation grows over a transfer to Old Trafford.

Milinkovic-Savic has played an integral role at Lazio since joining from Genk in July 2015, appearing over 200 times in Serie A.

The Serbia international has again delivered for Maurizio Sarri's side this season, providing 10 goals and 11 assists in the league, while no Serie A midfielder can match his 21 goal contributions.

Meanwhile, no Lazio player has started more Serie A games than the 27-year-old this term, while he also ranks top for tackles (67) and duels won (247).

A creative presence as well as a dominant midfielder, only Luis Alberto (64) has created more chances than Milinkovic-Savic (47), but reports in Italy suggest Lazio are ready to sell their star midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain and United are among the favourites to sign him, with Lazio's preference not to sell to fellow domestic side Juventus, and Milinkovic-Savic has referenced two Premier League players as his idols.

Pogba, who appears set to depart United at the end of the season, came under special praise from Milinkovic-Savic, while Thiago Alcantara's creativity for Liverpool was also cited.

"Comparisons between me and Pogba? I learned a lot from him at the beginning when I arrived in Italy and he was at Juventus," he told DAZN.

"He is tall like me, has the technique and always makes a difference."

On Thiago, he added: "Against shorter players, I struggle more because I have to lower myself too. Who do I get my cue from? I always look at Thiago from Liverpool.

"I developed some body movements thanks to Futsal, a sport I practised as a child."

Milinkovic-Savic acknowledged he was pleased to continue developing after producing arguably his best season and spoke long term about harbouring Ballon d'Or ambitions.

"My best year? For a few years, the statistics say, I play a little better," he added. "If I feel undervalued? I don't think about this, when I finish the game if I have time I see it again and then I decide if I did well or not, I'm honest with myself.

"In the movements without the ball I have grown a lot over the years. Little by little I have worked and this year you can see the results.

"Five years from now? I don't think so much about the future, I look day by day and I don't think too much about things. Ballon d'Or? Of course, I'd like to win it!"

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon Wimbledon: Serena Williams stunned by Tan in three-set marathon

    Serena Williams' hopes of a winning a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at Wimbledon are over after she was beaten by the unheralded Harmony Tan in an epic first-round match.

    Williams went down 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court in her first singles match since being forced to withdraw in the opening round of last year's tournament at the All England Club, when she suffered a hamstring injury during a contest with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

    The seven-time Wimbledon champion's much-heralded comeback proved to be an almighty battle and it was the SW19 debutant from France who came out on top late on Tuesday evening.

    It took outsider Tan three hours and 11 minutes to claim a huge scalp, winning what could prove to be the great Williams' final singles match at Wimbledon.

    Tan broke three times in a back-and-forth first set, with Williams unable to keep her at bay during the seventh game despite the world number 115 seeing three break points come and go before winning the fourth.

    The underdog's slice in particular proved to be difficult for the 40-year-old - 16 years senior to her opponent - to counter, and the former world number one seemed to need the break afforded by the roof closure on Centre Court to regather herself.

    Williams stamped her authority on the match in the second set to force a decider, breaking twice as she surged into a 5-0 lead before serving it out.

    Tan refused to be beaten in the final set, twice breaking back to frustrate Williams. 

    Williams was able to force a tie-break after saving a match point, and surged into a 4-0 lead - but Tan rallied once more to seize back the momentum, and celebrated a famous win after her legendary opponent netted a forehand.

  • Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director

    Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, according to the Eredivisie club's director Frank Arneson.

    Lyon had been linked with a move for Malacia, but United have reportedly agreed to a deal worth an initial £12.9million (€15m).

    Having come through the youth system, Malacia has played 136 games for Feyenoord, making 50 appearances in all competitions last season as Arne Slot's men finished third in the Eredivisie and reached the Europa Conference League final.

    Speaking to 1908NL, Arneson said all that remains is for the 22-year-old to agree personal terms with the Red Devils, revealing: "The agreement with Man United is there. We are now waiting for Tyrell.

    "If Malacia says yes, then a transfer to Manchester United is imminent."

    Malacia made his senior debut for the Netherlands last September and has since won a further four caps for his country.

    Only two Feyenoord players made more appearances in all competitions than Malacia last term, winger Bryan Linssen (53) and midfielder Orkun Kokcu (51), with the young full-back featuring in 17 of their Europa Conference League contests.

    The addition of Malacia would represent new United boss Erik ten Hag's first move to strengthen a defence which conceded 57 Premier League goals last campaign.

    United returned for pre-season training this week as they build towards Ten Hag's first competitive match in charge, a Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

  • Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman

    Sven Botman is belatedly leaving Lille to sign for Newcastle United in a reported £31.8million (€37m) transfer.

    Botman had been linked to both big-spending Premier League side Newcastle and Serie A champions Milan since January.

    The defender discussed "very concrete" interest from both clubs, describing a "good project" at Newcastle, only for Lille to reject the Magpies' advances in the middle of the season.

    Newcastle and Milan appeared to be frustrated at the start of this transfer window, too, with Lille demanding a significant fee for a player determined to leave Ligue 1.

    But Eddie Howe's Newcastle forged a breakthrough late last week and agreed a deal that has now been confirmed following a medical on Tyneside.

    The Magpies on Tuesday revealed that the formalities of the transfer are set to be concluded this week, with the 22-year then officially becoming a Newcastle player.

    Botman, a former Ajax academy graduate who won Ligue 1 in his first season in France, has agreed terms to put pen to paper a five-year contract at St James' Park.

    Following the signings of Matt Targett and Nick Pope, Botman would appear likely to come into Howe's team ahead of Dan Burn, another powerful, left-footed centre-back who was signed in his stead in January.

    Burn won 4.3 aerial duels and made 6.1 clearances and 0.9 blocks per 90 minutes after signing from Brighton and Hove Albion for £13m, beating Botman's marks for the 2021-22 season in each metric (2.3, 4.5, 0.8).

    But Howe will hope Botman can be key to Newcastle's development into a more possession-focused side; he completed 53.4 passes per 90 with Lille to Burn's 28.6 at Newcastle.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.