Long-serving Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic could be nearing a departure from the club this summer, according to journalist Matt Woosnam.
Writing on Twitter about the club captain’s situation, the trusted insider admitted that it might be “time to move on” for the Serbian gem, having struggled for game time under Patrick Vieira this term.
Going into further depth on the 31-year-old’s future in his piece for The Athletic, Woosnam revealed that the 39-cap international had even been booed at the club’s end of season awards night, with frustration brewing among some sections of support for his on-field failings, as well as his reported breach of pandemic restrictions last year.
This follows a report earlier this week that suggested the £4.5m-rated man is considering an exit from Selhurst Park in the upcoming window, with former club Olympiakos – who he left to join the Premier League outfit in January 2017 – keen on a reunion.
Although he may not have endeared himself to the club’s supporters for his off-field actions in recent times – as mentioned above – it is his form on the pitch which is likely to be a key factor in his departure, with few sorry to see him go should he find a new home in the coming months.
A solid servant of the south London side over the past five-and-a-half years, the defensive midfielder has netted 28 Premier League goals in that time, proving himself to be a lethal presence from dead-ball situations.
Having bagged an impressive 22 top-flight goals in just his first two full campaigns at the club, the goals have since dried up for the £80k-per-week skipper, however, with the arrival of new boss Vieira also restricting him to just 14 league outings this season – only nine of which have been starts.
Among a largely youthful and exuberant side, the ageing gem has somewhat stuck out like a sore thumb, failing to keep pace with the energetic and relentless teammates around him.
That has been illustrated by his underwhelming statistics so far this term, with Milivojevic averaging just 0.7 interceptions and 0.9 clearances per game thus far, while also winning possession just 0.3 times per 90, as well as providing just 0.8 key passes on average.
The one-time Anderlecht star also ranks poorly among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, as per FBref, ranking in just the top 90% for interceptions made, while he also has a fairly dismal pass completion rate of just 79.8% and averages just 4.14 progressive passes per game, proving himself ineffectual in both attack and defence.
Despite what is set to be a summer of change in midfield – with both Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur out of contract and Conor Gallagher set to return to parent club Chelsea – Vieira must not hesitate in wielding the axe on his current skipper.
Although there will be a fondness for his service to the club, supporters will likely be keen to see the back of him at the end of the campaign.