It was a transfer offer that few in Italy, or England, had expected to develop late on during the January window, but Serie A side Lazio made a formal offer for Plymouth Argyle’s Championship striker Morgan Whittaker.
Although Lazio’s offer was rebuffed a few days ago, presumably simply because the Rome based outfit did not meet the valuation the second tier English side held on him, the 23 year old reacted the right way and scored their winner in Saturday’s clash with former club, Swansea City.
Whittaker has been in fine form this season, scoring 17 times in 32 games, and his record includes 9 goals in the last ten matches, and the player is clearly enjoying the attention his current form is attracting for him.
“You’ve just got to look and think ‘these clubs are in for you, it’s amazing, just use that to kick on and keep playing with confidence and don’t let it stress you out’. Obviously it’s a lot because your name’s in the headlines, but when a team like that comes in you’ve just got to use it as a positive and just show how far you’ve come.”
Whittaker has, in fairness, had an interesting last few years as he had begun to really establish himself in the professional game. Having come through Derby County’s youth Academy, in 2021 he moved to Swansea City for a reported £700,000 and he enjoyed two decent spells out on loan with Lincoln City and Plymouth.
The Plymouth loan was a stand out spell for him with 9 goals in 21 starts, but against his wishes he was recalled early as Swansea wanted to reportedly sell him to Rangers but that deal ultimately never came to fruition.
Instead he moved to Plymouth on a permanent deal for a reported £1 million last summer, and it seems pretty clear that he is so determined to repay the faith that Plymouth showed in him, that without Lazio meeting their valuation of him, he will not even second guess their decision and even contemplate throwing his proverbial toys out of the pram.
Whilst he would undoubtedly enjoy a move to a club of the status of Lazio, his focus is on doubling down, impressing further and making a club like Lazio pay the fee Plymouth want.
“My head was never going to be turned. Because of how happy I am here it’s no-brainer for me to stay and kick on. I’m happy. What I’ve learned being in football is happiness is everything and I’ve finally got that, and I don’t want to give that up yet.”
A great second half of the season could well see Lazio, or others, return for him over the summer.