That’s according to a report by Italian publication Il Messaggero (via Sport Witness), who claim that Dan Ashworth is now ‘ready to put €60m (£53.5m)’ on the table for the Lazio attacking midfielder, while the Magpies are also thought to be prepared to hand the 27-year-old a five-year deal worth €10m (£8.9m) – roughly £170k a week – plus a €12m (£10.5m) signing bonus.
The report goes on to state that, with the Serbia international’s current contract coming to an end in the summer of 2024, the Serie A side are still hopeful of the midfielder signing a new deal, however, with no sign of Mateja Kezman – the player’s agent – opening talks soon, the club may be forced sell the 27-year-old – with Lazio hoping for a figure in the region of €100m (£89m).
Considering the simply astonishing returns Milinkovic-Savic has achieved during his time in Italy, it is not difficult to understand why Ashworth would be interested in a deal to add the 27-year-old to Eddie Howe‘s current options in the heart of his Newcastle side in the January transfer window, nor why he could be English football’s next Kevin De Bruyne.
Indeed, over his 16 Serie A appearances so far this season, the £53.5m-rated talent has been in sensational form going forwards, having already scored three goals, registered seven assists and created seven big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.6 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 0.8 dribbles per game.
The £101k-per-week midfielder has also caught the eye in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 1.7 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 1.4 clearances and winning 6.8 duels – at a success rate of 53% – per match, as well as playing an average of 2.9 long balls and completing 40 passes – at a success rate of 79% – per fixture.
These returns have seen the 39-cap international average a quite breathtaking Sofascore match rating of 7.28, not only ranking him as Maurizio Sarri’s second-best performer in the league but also as the joint ninth-best player in the Italian top flight as a whole – playing a pivotal role in fifth-placed Lazio get off to a fantastic start to the 2022/23 campaign.
Furthermore, according to FBref, Milinkovic-Savic currently ranks in the top 5% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 6% for shots, the top 2% for assists, the top 5% for touches in the opposition penalty area, the top 18% for dribbles completed, the top 24% for progressive passes and the top 6% for aerials won.
As a result of his breathtaking returns in Rome, one of Milinkovic-Savic’s teammates at Lazio, Ciro Immobile, even went as far as to compare the 27-year-old to Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne last October, with the Italy international stating:
“Trust me, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is magic. He’s on the same level as Kevin De Bruyne.”
As such, should Ashworth manage to get a deal over the line for Milinkovic-Savic this winter, not only would the sporting director have added a truly exceptional midfielder to Howe’s current options in the middle of the park, but he could also have unearthed the Premier League’s next De Bruyne-esque talent – something that is sure to be an extremely exciting prospect for the Magpies.