Klopp Wants $80M Midfielder Who Was Once Mourinho’s Target At Man Utd

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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker kept the Reds' top-four fate in their own hands
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker kept the Reds' top-four fate in their own hands

Liverpool FC have reportedly made a contact with the agents of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the ongoing summer market.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has identified Milinkovic-Savic as the No. 1 replacement for Gini Wijnaldum ahead of the 2021-22 season, reported Italian media outlet Il Messaggero. Wijnaldum, who is leaving Anfield as a free agent this summer, has signed with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) until 2024.

The 26-year-old Milinkovic-Savic of Serbia is a known name in the Premier League, courtesy of his links with Manchester United in the past. The Serbian was a top target of the Red Devils when Jose Mourinho was in charge of the club, according to the soccer website Teamtalk.

Milinkovic-Savic's asking price at Lazio is expected to be around $74 million and the price is nearly half the price Manchester United were quoted a few seasons ago. However, the former Genk midfielder’s current market value is around $80 million, according to Transfermarkt.

In the 2020-21 season, which was won by Inter Milan, Lazio finished sixth in the table with 68 points. Milinkovic-Savic netted eight goals and provided 10 assists in the Italian league, while he also missed a total of eight matches in the whole season for various reasons, including testing positive for COVID-19.

Overall, Milinkovic-Savic has scored 47 goals in 247 matches for Lazio, across all competitions, since his debut for the Italian club six years ago.

Apart from the Lazio player, Liverpool are also seeing Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini as possible replacements for Wijnaldum. It was previously reported that the Reds have made a bid worth $37 million to Roma in the ongoing summer transfer window.

Finding a replacement for Wijnaldum this summer is one of Klopp’s top priorities. The Dutchman’s exit from Anfield has left a void in the squad. Even though he may have not scored as many goals, his consistency in the middle will be tougher to replicate.

Liverpool had an injury-hit term in the 2020-21 campaign, but the 30-year-old Wjnaldum did not miss a single game because of an injury. Moreover, he started 34 out of his 38 Premier League appearances and overall, played a total of 51 matches for Liverpool in a season that saw Klopp’s side win no trophy.

Georginio Wijnaldum (right)blasts over Liverpool's best chance in a 0-0 Champions League quarter-final, second leg draw against Real Madrid
Georginio Wijnaldum (right) joined Liverpool in the summer of 2016.
Photo: AFP / Paul ELLIS

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