How "rare" bad game put Celtic off £67m-rated star Milinkovic-Savic

By Euan Davidson

November 16, 2021

Former Celtic scout David Moss has an eye for a player, and that includes current Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

One of the hottest defensive talents in Europe, Milinkovic-Savic is constantly being linked with moves away from Rome. According to Calciomercato, the Serbian international is valued at €80m (£67m) by the Serie A giants.

Ah, but it could’ve all been so different, says Moss. The former Celtic scout, who revealed that Premier League clubs could’ve had Virgil van Dijk sooner, says he watched Milinkovic-Savic at Vojvodina [Goal].

Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

The central midfielder has subsequently played 263 times for Lazio [Transfermarkt], and has been linked with Liverpool [Daily Express], Real Madrid and Juventus [Calcio Mercato Web]. In the Italian capital, he’s scored 50 and set up 42 more.

In an excellent interview with Goal, Moss stated that before he joined Genk, Milinkovic-Savic was on Celtic’s radar.

He said [Goal]:

“I was scouting people like Milinikovic-Savic at Vojvodina before he went on to do what he did.

“Genk took him, but I watched him three times and pushed for it. Unfortunately, when those higher up watched him live, he had a rare bad game.”

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Milinkovic-Savic at Celtic? It really could’ve happened…

Genk, again. Our perennial transfer competitors got to Milinkovic-Savic, selling him on to Lazio for nearly £11m after just a season.

It wouldn’t have been the first time we’d rinsed Vojvodina, either [Celtic FC]. Unfortunately, Moss’ pick for the Bhoys midfield slipped the net, with his own poor performance stopping a move.

Wow, though. What a signing that could’ve been. Although our midfield was pretty good at the time, featuring Callum McGregor, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong, Milinkovic-Savic has gone on to pretty extraordinary heights.

Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

An elite European outfit will surely sign him before too long. He’s been too good for too long at Lazio.

It also shows how astute David Moss was at Celtic. A key figure in signing Virgil van Dijk, Moss had some notable scouting successes alongside John Park and Neil McGuinness.

Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper and more were signed to brilliant effect in a fruitful period for the club’s recruitment staff. Ange Postecoglou could do far worse than to bring the ex-Falkirk defender back into the set-up at Celtic Park.

When Milinkovic-Savic does make his big move, though, remember. He could’ve been a Celtic player once upon a time.

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