The summer just gone saw a degree of uncertainty over the future of Crystal Palace midfielder Luka Milivojevic, with the Serbian entering the final year of his contract in SE25. He has since put pen to paper on fresh terms with the club but when speaking about it recently, he admitted that the uncertainty had been playing on his mind.
Initially brought to south London from Olympiakos when Sam Allardyce was in charge, the central midfielder immediately offered a sense of pedigree and leadership in the middle of the park, with supporters quickly taking him to their hearts. The years that followed have seen him take the armband, establish himself as one of the first names on the team-sheet and take over penalty and free-kick duty, despite the presence of many contenders for the crown within the squad.
Speaking about the contract saga, Luka said:
“It was a little inconvenient because I was entering the last year of the contract.
In football, it is a little inconvenient when you enter the last year, all sorts of things happen. I know, I didn’t get the top offer and I extended the contract.”
Whilst the general tone of his quote is one which proves he’s happy to have committed his long-term future to Palace, the claim that the absence of a “top offer” gave him the final push necessary to put pen to paper does hint that he would have left the club if a club with European football on the agenda had made a major play for him. Personally, I don’t have any real problem with Luka admitting that; were an Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen or Valencia to have come in with a concrete proposal, he would have been foolish not to give it serious thought.
Their loss remains our gain and with Milivojevic now tied to Selhurst Park until the age of 32, you wouldn’t rule out the potential of him seeing out his playing days in red and blue before graduating to a coaching role. He’s that sort of character; a man who’ll give all he has for the shirt when called upon. I remember being slightly taken aback that we’d managed to bring him in back in January of 2017 but even then, there was a possibility that he simply wouldn’t adapt well to the English game.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case and he is now an integral cog within the club. Long may it continue.