Manchester United are once again being linked with a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savić and the Serbian could prove to be Erik ten Hag’s own version of Kevin de Bruyne should he move to Old Trafford.
Various outlets have linked the Red Devils with a move for the 27-year-old, as Ten Hag looks to bolster his limited midfield options at United before the transfer window shuts.
The Dutch manager arrived at United only to see Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all leave the club on free transfers after their contracts expired.
Only Christian Eriksen has been signed so far, and with a move for Barcelona’s Frenkie De Jong having been United’s primary focus for much of the window, only for him to be linked with a switch to Chelsea, they need to look elsewhere for midfield improvements.
Milinković-Savić would certainly help to strengthen United in midfield, as is emphasised by his superb season in Serie A last season, where he contributed 11 goals and 11 assists, averaging a 7.36 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
For context, no United player would register as many goals and assists, while Cristiano Ronaldo was rated as the top performer in United’s squad, averaging a 7.11 rating across his appearances in the Premier League.
Considering how influential the Belgian has been for Pep Guardiola in recent seasons, winning the Premier League player of the season last year as they won the title, United would be foolish to turn down a player similar to De Bruyne.
As per FbRef, the two registered the exact same number of shots on target last season (31), while they also registered a similar number of expected goals per 90 (0.21 vs 0.26) and progressive passes (170 vs 157).
This shows that they are both midfielders that like to get forward and make an impact in the final third, which is something United will need if they are to avoid relying on Ronaldo for their goalscoring exploits again this season.
WhoScored also suggests that both Milinkovic-Savic and De Bruyne excel at passing, long shots and playing key passes, so they clearly have a similar style of play, and the Serbian could be very effective in Ten Hag’s midfield.
Therefore, the Glazers should definitely consider a move for the “complete midfielder” before the transfer window shuts.