Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, 28, will wear the colors of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal.
The move to Saudi Arabia for a reported fee of £34 million ($566 million) has surprised the world of soccer, with the 20-year-old midfielder having been linked with a number of big clubs, including Manchester United.
“We have signed Milinkovic-Savic until June 2026,” Al-Hilal announced on the club’s website on Wednesday (KST).
According to the British public broadcaster BBC, Lazio will pay a transfer fee of £34 million.
The 6-foot-2 midfielder made his professional debut in the Serbian Superliga in 2013 and has steadily improved his kicking, passing, and dribbling stability since then.
Since joining Lazio in 2015, he has gone from strength to strength and was named Serie A’s Best Midfielder in 2018-19, establishing himself as one of the league’s leading midfielders. Former Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi said, “He can play anywhere in the defense and midfield. He has no weaknesses.”
It was young blood that had been consistently linked to big clubs for three or four years. Man United was the main one. In addition to the Red Devils, Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked.
In April 2020, the British newspaper Express reported that “Manchester United are pursuing a stunning deal to fill the Paul Pogba void” and that “Milinkovic-Savic is rated as a talent who could be the ‘perfect replacement’ for Pogba. United have set up a negotiating table with Lazio and are hoping for a positive outcome.”
Al-Hilal has also bolstered his squad with another ‘big-time 20-something midfielder’.
This summer, he added 1997-born defensive midfielder Hubeng Neves, formerly of Wolverhampton Wanderers (England), to bolster the midfield, and Milinkovic-Savic to create a “tight back”. It’s a move that will have a significant impact on next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League campaign.