Jose Mourinho's pursuit of a creative central midfielder has turned Manchester United's attention towards Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has impressed for the Serie A side last season and during the ongoing campaign.
The Spanish-born Serbia international has been on the radar of a number of European clubs since the summer and is again likely to be among the players pursued at the end of the 2017/18 season. Liverpool and Chelsea were linked with moves in the summer as were Serie A giants Juventus.
Milinkovic-Savic's agent Mateja Kezman confirmed that they had received bids in excess of €50m (£44m) in the summer, but the player was not keen to leave Lazio. He also extended his deal for a further two years and is now contracted to the club until the summer of 2022.
According to Italian publication Calcio Mercato, Mourinho is a big admirer of the Serbian midfielder and is having him watched with a view to a potential move. The report claims that the Red Devils had a scout watch him during Lazio's recent win over Sampdoria on Sunday (3 December) where he scored one and had a part in their second as they ran out 2-1 winners.
The Portuguese manager is keen to strengthen his midfield, especially the creative side after seeing his team struggle during the absence of Paul Pogba. The French midfielder was missing for 12 weeks with a hamstring injury, and United failed to break down teams from midfield owing to a lack of creativity.
The 20-time English champions, however, will have their task cut out to land Milinkovic-Savic after the Lazio director of sport Igli Tare recently revealed that they had turned down offers higher than €70m. The Calcio Mercato report believes that United will have to shell out upward of €80m if they are to have any chance of signing the Serbian next summer.
"The field dictates his value," Tare said, as quoted by Forza Italian Football. "We've received offers that are even higher [than €70m], but they weren't from Juventus."
"I consider him a player that has ample room for improvement. He will have a great career.
"He renewed his contract six months ago because he is happy at Lazio, and we hope he can be a symbol for us in the future," the Lazio sporting director added.