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After Champions League heartbreak, Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic should make Tottenham switch

The Serbian could prove the perfect long-term replacement for Mousa Dembele.

Max Cohen

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Photo: Getty Images

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.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Croatia

Tottenham’s interest in Croatia trio justified after sensational team performance against Argentina

Tottenham fans will have heard a few familiar names last night.

Jamie Watts

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Croatia heaped further misery on Argentina’s already shaky World Cup opening last night, dismantling them 3-0, and taking the top spot of Group D in the process. And Tottenham fans will have been particularly interested in the clash.

Not only was former fan-favourite Luka Modric in his usual scintillating form, but a trio of closely linked players were deployed on the night, and all three put in exceptional performances.

Ivan Perisic put in a typically tireless display last night, alternating between all three-front roles at times, while showing maturity in his decision making and genuine quality in his end product after marauding runs down both flanks. And Pochettino will have taken notice, as his side were reportedly interested in bringing the 29-year-old to north London last month, according to Calcio Mercato.

Photo: Getty Images

On top of that, the Spurs-linked midfield duo also performed brilliantly when called upon. Marcelo Brozovic (Calcio Mercato) – also of Inter Milan – showed his ability to steady the ship in defensive midfield, in what was a frantic game at times, sparking counter attacks with his vision and cultured weight of pass, whilst keeping the shackles on Lionel Messi.

And Mateo Kovacic (AS), rounded off a dogged team performance with a few moments brilliance. Upon arriving into the game in the closing stages, he used his exceptional dribbling and balance to trouble a weary Argentina back-line, before showing an extremely cool head to pick out Rakitic under-pressure in the box for his outfit’s third goal.

Photo: Getty Images

All three put in performances worthy of top level clubs, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pochettino elevate his interest in all three after last night.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham could transform midfield with Tanguy Ndombele Harry Winks partnership

The two could seriously change the way football is played at Tottenham.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham‘s reported move for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele may have inched a step closer yesterday, as the Ligue 1 club are said to have launched a move for a direct replacement, in Jean-Eudus Adoulou, according to reports from Le 10 Sport.

Ahoulou, like Mousa Dembele, is a defensive midfielder who possesses great energy and tackling skill and his arrival at Lyon from Strasbourg would surely free up Ndombele. And the Frenchman’s arrival at north London could signify a change of style at White Hart Lane.

Photo: Getty Images

Harry Winks is undoubtedly destined for a big future with the Lilywhites, as his current attributes aren’t possessed by any other deep-lying midfielder at the club. His dynamism and agility add creativity to a rigid screen – usually consisting of Dembele and Victor  Wanyama, or Eric Dier – designed primarily to look after the rear-guard. And he is the catalyst for crafting attacks from deep when playing.

Dembele is coming to the latter years of his career and has admitted to struggling with the physical demands of the Premier League (the Telegraph), meaning Winks’ importance will only increase as time goes on.

Photo: Getty Images

Add to that the addition of Ndombele, and at the ages of 22 and 21 respectively, the two could usher in a dynamic, ball carrying midfield unseen under the tutelage of Pochettino for the foreseeable future.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Ante Rebic shows he is a capable Tottenham Hotspur alternative to Anthony Martial

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a move for Ante Rebic this week.

Mathew Nash

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Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with a host of attackers this summer. Mauricio Pochettino wants a new striker, who is also adaptable on the wings, to back up star player Harry Kane. It soon became apparent that his number one target was long-term favourite Anthony Martial. However, with Manchester United reportedly wanting £75 million for the player, Tottenham have cooled their interest.

A name that has since popped up is Ante Rebic. Linked with the club back in 2013 the Croatian attacker is said to be on their radar. The German press, namely Sport Bild, suggest that Spurs are keen on the Eintracht Frankfurt forward.

In recent weeks he has shown just why he would be perfect for Spurs.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

An industrious and hard-working winger or striker the Croatian scored two goals against Bayern Munich to secure the German Cup for Frankfurt at the end of the domestic season.

Today, against Argentina, he again showed he is a big game player.

Rebic scored a wonderful volley off a Willy Caballero mistake to give Croatia the lead in their epic 3-0 conquest of the Albiceleste.

The 24-year-old was, admittedly, lucky to still be on the pitch. However, his tireless display was exactly what Pochettino will demand and with reports suggesting he is available at £26 million Tottenham would be making a shrewd move by bringing in the versatile big-game player.

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