Lazio president Claudio Lotito has made it clear that rivals Juventus would not able to afford Sergej Milinkovic-Savic after he revealed the club rejected a €110m offer for the midfielder last summer.
Following an impressive season at Lazio – which returned 14 goals – the 23-year-old has been strongly linked with an exit from the club, with the likes of Manchester United, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all keeping tabs on the Serbia international.
Milinkovic-Savic is contracted to Lazio until 2022, leaving the Italian outfit in a strong bargaining position as interested suitors are left to consider whether they can shell out a significant amount of cash to secure his signature.
Despite increasing reports speculating over the 23-year-old’s future, Lotito played down any links as he insisted Lazio would not be easily swayed to part with their star man.
“I turned down €110m for Milinkovic-Savic on August 29, so I don’t know how much he is worth now, but I can tell you €100m isn’t enough,” Lotito revealed, via Football Italia.
“I get angry when I read people call Lazio a supermarket. I’ve never put anyone up for sale. In the past they wouldn’t even knock on the door, clubs would just come and take, but now they have to ask for permission.”
Lotito’s remarks were later followed up by comments on the club’s Serie A rivals attempting to join the race for the midfielder, a notion he failed to entertain as he told Tuttosport: “There’s no way he can go to Juventus because Juve don’t have the money to buy Milinkovic Savic.”
Meanwhile Lotito refused to be drawn into the discussion surrounding Stefan De Vrij’s controversial role in Lazio’s final game of the season which handed Inter a place in the Champions League – a team he is to join as a free agent.
“We knew that De Vrij had a deal with Inter, but we had faith in the professionalism of the player. It’s just fate that he made those mistakes,” Lotito added.
“We made the choice, [Coach Simone] Inzaghi and I. Inter could’ve avoided putting people in a difficult situation. If the contract had been agreed in January, why announce it just before the game?”