Manchester United have Sergej Milinkovic-Savic transfer advantage

Man Utd are interested in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic ahead of the transfer window and Jose Mourinho has history with his agent

Manchester United have Sergej Milinkovic-Savic transfer advantage

Man Utd are interested in Sergej Milinkovic-Savic ahead of the transfer window and Jose Mourinho has history with his agent

09 May 2018 Wednesday 10:58
Manchester United have Sergej Milinkovic-Savic transfer advantage

As Diego Forlan left the Premier League in 2004 his hapless heir arrived.

Mateja Kezman became Jose Mourinho's second Chelsea signing after Paulo Ferreira but was sent off in his second appearance and did not score in the league until his 12th appearance with a penalty Mourinho insisted he take.

Chelsea were 4-0 up at the time.

Buyer beware: Kezman managed just five more goals before, yet Atletico Madrid remarkably matched the £5.3million Chelsea paid PSV Eindhoven for him 12 months earlier.

Kezman only lasted a year in Spain, too.

Chelsea supporters will not be surprised at the possibility of Kezman being more productive for Mourinho in retirement than he was during his sole season at the club.

Most former professionals make the transition to the dugout or the punditry sofa but Kezman, only 39, is a registered agent who represents Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

A striker sent off at a European Championship and World Cup, as well as in a Chelsea pre-season friendly, Kezman's knack for rubbing people up the wrong way has continued off the pitch and in March he claimed Milinkovic-Savic was 'better' than Paul Pogba.

The irony is the two could be teammates next season. Some close to Milinkovic-Savic have apparently claimed he has a deal with United, only Kezman said at the weekend 'we do not have any agreement with any club'.

Still, Kezman must welcome such whispers on the grapevine.

"He likes the spotlight," an agent source said of Kezman.

Especially when his player's value is inflating. Kezman posted a screen shot of Milinkovic-Savic's profile from the Transfermarkt website which valued him at €70m.

"Now the most valuable player in history from our area," Kezman boasted on Instagram.

Lazio reputedly value Milinkovic-Savic at €100m.

Milinkovic-Savic, 23, would likely be signed by Mourinho to alleviate the burden on Pogba rather than to replace him.

United are lacking attack-minded central midfielders following Ander Herrera's conversion to a holder and Marouane Fellaini is considering moves elsewhere as he approaches the final month of his contract.

United's interest in Milinkovic-Savic tallies with their eagerness to push through a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk enforcer Fred, who would play in Nemanja Matic's territory. Milinkovic-Savic has attained only two Serbia caps - both in friendlies - but is expected to supplement Matic at next month's World Cup. Former coach Slavoljub Muslin was sacked partly due to his refusal to select Milinkovic-Savic.

Milinkovic-Savic has scored 13 times this season

Balance was the buzzword when Mourinho was asked whether he would sign a midfielder to ease the pressure on Pogba. "We need balance in the team," he stressed in mid-February.

Another Serie A midfielder - Napoli's Jorginho - was viewed as a potential replacement for Michael Carrick but City are also interested. Competition for Milinkovic-Savic will not be as intense.

Kezman and Milinkovic-Savic dined last week in Turin, where the midfielder's brother Vanja plays for Torino. Vanja coincidentally spent 18 months at United and met Sir Alex Ferguson in the Carrington lobby. "Even after you tell him your name, he says you do not need to introduce yourself to him because he knows your name," Vanja marvelled.

Vanja's lonely experience at United may influence his brother's decision-making.

The goalkeeping Milinkovic-Savic was living in Belgrade without a permanent club while he awaited a work permit and was forced to train with clubs for brief intervals to maintain his fitness.

Vanja's non-EU nationality eventually ended his fleeting association with United.

His influence is unlikely to trump Kezman's and there is an appreciation of his former coach's methods.

"If Mourinho had been in charge of the match against us of course it would've been different," Kezman said of the 2008 Champions League final defeat to United. Old wounds had healed.

"I lost my confidence after six games," Kezman said of his Chelsea career in 2005.

"I had a good pre-season but then didn't get the chance to play. I didn't show anything of what I can do.

"The best example is Diego Forlan at Manchester United, who didn't get the chance to show what he can do, and went to Spain and scored 25 goals."

Forlan's friend was the last midfielder to transfer between Lazio and United: Juan Sebastian Veron.

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