Man Utd, Arsenal targets among five Serie A stars available at knockdown prices

Date published: Monday 13th June 2022 10:11 - Ian Watson

Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have been linked with Premier League transfers.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Kalidou Koulibaly are available less than half the price previous quoted. There are also discounts on offer for Inter’s top stars.

Here are five Serie A-based players available at bargain prices compared to what was previously demanded from Premier League teams…

 

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Manchester United seem to have been linked with Milinkovic-Savic since the Serbia midfielder was in the womb. The Red Devils were first credited with an interest in 2017, a year after they signed Paul Pogba, when it was thought they would have to break their £89million transfer record again to land a player regarded as one of the best young talents in Europe.

That interest was intensified in 2018 but still Lazio wanted €100million, which was then roughly what United paid for Pogba. Instead, they signed Fred for around half that price.

Juventus have also been perennially linked with Milinkovic-Savic but now, when it seems the 27-year-old is ready to finally flee the Lazio nest, and just when United have finally acknowledged their need for at least one midfielder, the Red Devils are nowhere to be seen.

Instead it’s Arsenal who could swoop, with Lazio facing little choice but to sell this summer. The Rome outfit reportedly want £55million, which is hopelessly optimistic for a player a year from free agency. They might be willing to accept £42million, which is half what United were quoted.

 


Where every Premier League club has shopped most for transfers this century


 

Kalidou Kouibaly
United have also been the Premier League club most linked with the Senegal defender. Indeed, according to Napoli, the Red Devils have made a number of official approaches.

Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed one such offer came prior to Jose Mourinho’s sacking at the end of 2018. “Mourinho wanted him, we rejected £95million,” said the Napoli president shortly after United axed the manager.

The following summer, United were still sniffing around Koulibaly but De Laurentiis remained unmoved in his valuation. So Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed Harry Maguire for £80million instead.

That, though, didn’t dampen United’s interest. In 2020, they were said to have bid £64million for Koulibaly but still Napoli weren’t interested. But De Laurentiis will listen to offers this summer as the 30-year-old is a year from the end of his contract.

Chelsea are said to be interested since they desperately need centre-halves, with Napoli’s valuation reported to have plummeted to £34million – around a third of what they wanted three years ago.

 

Milan Skriniar
The Slovakia international was another Mourinho’s most-wanted during the summer in 2018 when Ed Woodward thought he knew better.

Despite the gaping hole in the middle of their defence, United took the decision that Inter Milan’s £76million valuation for Skriniar was too high, so instead, they signed… no one.

Tottenham have since taken over as the club most often linked with Skriniar, with Chelsea also credited with an interest. The presence of former Inter coach Antonio Conte makes Spurs an obvious suitor, but PSG seem intent on landing the 27-year-old.

Apparently, they have tabled an offer worth £34.1million – less than half the figure United were quoted – which Inter have rebuffed without hesitation. But if PSG, or anyone else, coughs up a shade over £50million, then Inter will be willing to do business.

Milan Skriniar Inter Milan Liverpool

 

Lautaro Martinez
The Argentina striker was Barcelona’s primary target two years ago, just before the scale of their financial catastro-f*ck became clear.

Back then, they were getting rid of Luis Suarez and faced the possibility of losing Lionel Messi. At Inter Milan, Martinez was valued at around £80million, with a release clause of £96million in his contract providing the Nerazzurri a strong bargaining position.

Perhaps the clues were there when Barca initially offered just £15million plus add-ons. They tried all summer after agreeing personal terms with Martinez – “I was truly very close to joining Barcelona,” he admitted last year – but there was no way Inter would do business on terms Barca could afford.

Martinez stayed at Inter and won the Serie A title. There was talk of an exit last summer, by which time the asking price had come down to around £68million. But with Inter having robbed Chelsea of £97.5million for Romelu Lukaku, Martinez stayed on again.

This summer, with Inter facing some difficult financial decisions themselves, Martinez could be taken to market with a reduced price tag of around £58million on his head.

 

Andrea Belotti
Back in 2017, the Torino striker was one of the hottest properties in Europe. “Better than Batistuta,” said Fabio Capello.

AC Milan, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal were among the big-hitters lined with Belotti, but Torino slapped a €100million price tag on him and refused to budge. Which proved to be something of a mistake.

Torino president Urbano Cairo admitted as much earlier this year: “He wanted to go to Milan… over time, as I have often said, I have realised that if a player wants to leave, it is better to let him go. In the head they change and if they change, you risk stress and injuries.”

Now, what was once Torino’s biggest asset has depreciated to nothing. Belotti will likely walk away this summer at the end of his contract, though there is little sign of the interest there once was. West Ham are keen and Spurs have been linked while Belotti hopes Milan still have a soft spot for him.

 

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