Insider Pete O’Rourke believes Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would be a good fit for Arsenal as rumours circle over a summer transfer.
What’s the word?
The Serbia international has been linked with a big move this summer and Arsenal are in the market for a midfielder.
Reports in Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) claim Milinkovic-Savic is seen as a potential transfer target by the Gunners.
A late January pursuit for Moises Caicedo was rejected, and despite the signing of Jorginho, Declan Rice is reportedly the top transfer target ahead of the summer.
However, Arsenal could also move for the Lazio captain, and O’Rourke has told Football FanCast that if he does move to the Emirates Stadium, he would fit in well under Mikel Arteta.
He said: “It shows the calibre of player that Arsenal are looking at right now – they’re looking at top players, and obviously, that midfield is an area of the team that Mikel Arteta does want to strengthen.
“Milinkovic-Savic has been linked with numerous English clubs in the past as well, so I think he would definitely be a real good fit for Arsenal if they did pursue their interest in him.”
Goal threat from midfield
Granit Xhaka has had a good season of output in his new attacking role in recent months, but Milinkovic-Savic could provide an upgrade in that regard.
The 27-year-old ranks in the top 5% of central midfielders for goals, assists and attacking penalty area touches in Europe’s top competitions, as per FBref, indicating that he could offer more of a goal threat than Xhaka.
However, the Swiss midfielder has become one of Arsenal’s most crucial players and also ranks much higher in progressive passes and shot-creating actions than the Lazio skipper, which would help gain more output from the team around him.
Given Arsenal’s apparent interest in Rice, it may be unlikely Arsenal sign both players unless there was a big departure from the midfield such as Xhaka, but judging by the stats, there is no guarantee Milinkovic-Savic would provide an overall upgrade to the former Gunners captain given his role in the team.