When S.S. Lazio signed Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lazio supremo Igli Tare was certain that he’d signed an absolute gem. The Serbian had made a swift start to his career, leaving Serbian outfit Vojvodina after a single season. He then headed off to Genk, in Belgium, where he played again for a single season. With just 13 league games for Vojvodina, his talent was obvious – Genk jumped first and brought the midfielder into the first-team. After a single season there, scoring five goals from midfield, he was on the move again.
The Roman outfit made the move, looking to bring him in on a long-term contract. The midfielder made his debut for his new club in the UEFA Champions League, when they eventually crashed out to Bayer Leverkusen. He did, though, score in his next European match – a game against Dnipro of Ukraine. His first goal in the league came in January 2016, scoring against Fiorentina. In a quiet debut season, he played 35 times and scored 3 goals.
However, since then, the Serbian has detonated into a whole new kind of player. A regular goalscorer from the middle of the pitch and absolutely lethal from distance, Milinkovic-Savic has quickly become a leading name in the Italian Serie A. However, since his true explosion to week to week prominence in 2018, moves have been lined up for him time and time again. Each time, though, he has chosen to stay in Rome. Will that be the case as we move into 2021, though?
The end of a Lazio era?
Under coach Simone Inzaghi, Lazio have become a genuine challenger in the top flight. They regularly compete for the UEFA Champions League spots, playing in the 2020-21 edition of the tournament. They also regularly compete for silverware, with Italian Cup and Supercoppa titles fought for in recent seasons. The 2019-20 seen the Biancoceleste push Juventus far in the title race, before eventually melting down and falling away from a title challenge when it mattered most.
This season, though, has not started as well for the Italians. A win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League was expected to fire the Italians to their previous level, but it is yet to happen. The season has started wll enough for the Serbian, though, scoring a goal and setting one up in 320 minutes of football so far.
Improving all the time and with his contract ticking down, though, this might be the final time that Lazio can extract top value for the superstar. At 25, too, it might be time for the Serb to look at the other options out there on the market for him. He’s easily one of the most reputable and impressive midfielders in the game today – and that should give fans of the club plenty of worries about keeping him around for another season.
There will come a time when Milinkovic-Savic will see an exit as his next career step; expect it to arrive this year, should Lazio fail to get it together and find their form once again.