Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: The answer to Chelsea’s midfield problems?

Anugrah Patnigere
By Anugrah Patnigere
7 Min Read
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Thomas Tuchel’s Blues face a very crucial and pivotal summer transfer window with the new owners determined to provide complete backing to the German coach and sign the best possible players to compete with Manchester City and Liverpool next season.

The midfield conundrum at the club is an issue Tuchel wants to resolve with the long-term future of the club in mind. N’golo Kante and Jorginho who are 31-years-old and 30-years-old respectively have just a year remaining on their contracts with the Blues’ contemplating the duo’s future at the club. Kante has been deemed very important for Thomas Tuchel owing to the fact the Frenchman fits in perfectly in the German tactician’s system and still has a few good years in his legs.

Jorginho hasn’t been at his best ever since the arrival of the manager and is linked with a move to Italy with Juventus the club keen on signing the Italian. The ongoing discussions with the Serie A giants to sign Matthijs De Ligt could include a swap deal including Jorginho and Timo Werner to reduce the price with Todd Boehly preferring a swap deal over a straight cash deal.

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Declan Rice is the number 1 target for Chelsea in case of a midfield shuffle this window. West Ham are not ready to part ways with their captain and are putting off any potential suitors by quoting a price of around 130 million pounds to begin negotiations. It would make Rice the most expensive transfer in Premier League ever though a move seems to be very difficult this summer.

The Premier League is a league to which a lot of players are linked throughout their careers with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Ronaldinho etc. Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is such a name who has been linked to at least one English club for the last 5 years similar to how Wesley Sneijder was consistently linked with Manchester United every transfer window but a move never materialized.

Milinkovic-Savic’s name in the Italian newspapers and sources has increased in recent days with Chelsea, Juventus, Arsenal and Manchester United all linked with a move to sign the Serbian this summer transfer window.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: Player Profile

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Milinkovic-Savic is a versatile midfielder who can play a variety of roles in the middle of the park. The Serbian has played as a lone defensive midfielder, box-to-box attacking midfielder and even as a deep-lying midfielder for Lazio during his time in Italy.

At 6 ft 3 inches, he provides an aerial presence on the pitch and is a physical player who loves a lunge or two. He has predominantly played the no.8 role for Maurizio Sarri last season and certainly was impressive in the final third for the Eagles with 11 goals and 11 assists in 36 games.

The 27-year-old averaged 1.8 tackles per game, 0.9 interceptions per game, 1.4 key passes per game and 1.2 dribbles per game which indicates he is an all-round midfielder who can attack and defend equally well.

Perfect Jorginho replacement

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Chelsea could look to cash in on their vice-captain this summer instead of losing him on a free next summer and get in Milinkovic-Savic to replace the outgoing Italian. Not only can Savic play as a lone CDM in a back 4, but he can also be the perfect partner for Mateo Kovacic/Conor Gallagher who will both be fighting for a place in the double pivot next season. Kante’s recent injury struggles have cost Chelsea dearly in the Champions League and the Premier League last season with Tuchel having had to play a 50% fit Kante in the crucial games. . Kovacic’s press resistance and ball carrying ability paired with Savic’s commanding presence in the middle of the pitch, disrupting the opposition’s attack and contributing to the attack could be a cheat code for Thomas Tuchel.

What are the reports saying?

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According to Calciomercato, via Tribal Football, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a name on the midfield shortlist for the Blues and are seriously interested in signing the player this summer.

Todd Boehly is reluctant to meet the valuation of €70 million set by the Eagles and wants to offer Ruben Loftus Cheek and Emerson Palmieri plus a fee in the region of €40 million to sign the Serbian midfielder. Maurizio Sarri, ex-Chelsea manager and current Lazio manager, loves Ruben Loftus Cheek having coached him previously and wants to reunite with the Englishman this summer.

Author’s Verdict

Milinkovic-Savic being available for more than half the price West Ham are demanding for Declan Rice is a serious bargain if Todd Boehly can manage to strike a deal with Lazio. Rice looks likely to end up at Chelsea if/when he leaves despite interest from other top English clubs and the Blues could try next season to get their man. Savic is has been going under the radar at Serie A and it remains to be seen whether he can do it in the Premier League too given the added pressure of a big club and a bigger league.

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