Lazio’s dream of qualifying for next season’s Champions League was ended in the cruelest of circumstances on Sunday, after two late goals from Inter Milan pushed the capital club into fifth position.
For standout central midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the lack of top-level European football must have come as a blow, and the 23-year-old should move to Tottenham Hotspur to seek the high-quality competition he deserves.
The Serbian international could prove to be the ideal long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele in north London, as he shares the Belgian’s combination of physical strength and deft skills.
Milinkovic-Savic enjoyed a superb campaign for the Italian club, playing 47 times and chipping in with 14 goals and nine assists.
These are laudable attacking numbers for a midfielder who operates in the engine room of the pitch, and his attacking contributions led Lazio to within inches of their first Champions League berth in over a decade.
The Serbian international is also a key defensive presence on the pitch. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches, the midfielder is a strong header of the ball and has the strength to outmuscle opposition attackers with ease.
(Photo by Marco Bertorello/Getty Images)
According to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United are targeting Milinkovic-Savic and the player is set to make a decision on his future over the weekend.
Although he has been linked with the Manchester club, Milinkovic-Savic would do well to move to north London and play under Mauricio Pochettino.
Spurs are in vital need of central midfield reinforcements this summer, as the futures of Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama, and Dembele are all unclear.
Dembele has been an excellent performer for Spurs under Pochettino, and should undoubtedly be offered a new deal this offseason.
However, the Belgian turns 31 this summer and Tottenham must seek a quality, long-term replacement for the midfielder.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would be a fantastic addition to the Spurs squad and an ideal successor to Dembele in the centre of the park; the prospect of Champions League football should lure him to White Hart Lane this season.