Scottish champions Celtic have enjoyed notable tales of success in the transfer market in the last decade or so, memorably bringing in the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama on the cheap, having proven particularly astute at spotting a rare hidden gem.
That being said, however, there are star talents whom the Parkhead outfit have also foolishly turned their nose up at over the years, with Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic one such figure who the Old Firm giants inexplicably snubbed.
That’s according to former Hoops scout David Moss, who revealed that he had recommended the then-youngster – who was turning out for Vojvodina at the time – to the club’s hierarchy, only for that recommendation to ultimately fall on deaf ears.
The Englishman stated: “I was scouting people like Milinikovic-Savic at Vojvodina before he went on to do what he did. Genk took him, but I watched him three times and pushed for it. Unfortunately, when those higher up watched him live, he had a rare bad game.”
As per GOAL, the Glasgow side would seemingly have been able to strike the deal for a fee of just €600k (£520k), with that now appearing a total snip such has been the towering gem’s impact since then, have gone on to become something of a force in European football.
The 6-foot-5 powerhouse spent just a solitary season with Belgian outfit Genk after joining in 2014, before making the high-profile move to Italian giants Lazio a year later, going on to become a real leading figure for the Serie A side since then.
The dynamic brute been a hugely reliable figure in his playmaking berth over the years, having chipped in with an impressive haul of 63 goals and 58 assists in 314 games for the Rome-based outfit, including a tally of 12 goal contributions in just 20 games so far this season.
A “complete player with great quality” – in the words of current boss Maurizio Sarri – the 27-year-old is arguably one of the most unique assets on the continent as a result of his all-round box-to-box ability, showcased by the fact that he ranks in the top 4% in Europe among those in his position for touches in the opposition penalty area, while also offering defensive brilliance as he ranks in the top 4% for aerial duels won.
Such has been the £100k-per-week man’s rise of late, the latest suggestion is that he could now be worth as much as €120m (£104m), with that valuation far beyond what those at Celtic Park could have initially paid for him all those years ago.
The 36-cap menace could well go on showcase his quality on a wider stage for Serbia at the World Cup, with journalist Marco Messina suggesting that the imposing giant could truly “explode” in the tournament this time around.
Should Milinkovic-Savic – who is believed to be a target for Juventus at present – go on to sparkle in Qatar, the Hoops could well be left to rue their previous inaction even further, with the Scottish Premiership side having seemingly had a nightmare by not taking Moss’ advice.