It seems like Arsenal are in the driving seat to land Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli. According to reports from Calciomercato, the Gunners have submitted an improved offer of €40m for the Italian midfielder, which comes well within the price range wanted by the Serie A club.
Sassuolo’s chief has also confirmed that there is strong transfer interest by revealing that the club is in advanced talks with a ‘foreign club’. However, Arsenal are waiting for the player to sort his mind out as there is interest from Juventus which the player prefers, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Sassuolo CEO Carnevali to Sky: “We’re in talks for Locatelli with one club from abroad… and it’s really advanced. We’re gonna meet with Juventus in the next days, but there are no negotiations yet with Juve as Italian clubs are in difficult financial situation”. 🇮🇹 #AFC #Juve
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 8, 2021
The Italian defensive midfielder has been a revelation for Sassuolo ever since his transfer from AC Milan back in 2019. Despite being used more in the defensive role, he managed to score 4 goals while assisting another 3 last season.
His performances in the 20/21 season were outstanding, which earned him a place in the Italy squad for the Euro 2020. He continued his run with good performances for the national team. Locatelli was the star of the show with his brace against Switzerland in the group stages.
The CEO of Sassuolo, Giovanni Carnevali, broke the news to Sky in Italy about Locatelli and the interest from Arsenal:
“It’s true that other clubs from abroad are interested, Arsenal are one of these and they are ahead of everyone else because they tabled the only concrete offer we have received so far.”
He also confirmed interest from Juventus:
“Juventus are the only Italian club we talked to about Locatelli,”
“We met last week with (Juventus sporting director Federico) Cherubini.”
“There is interest from their side, we haven’t explored all the terms and evaluations, but we have an excellent relationship with Juventus so we will continue these talks.”
“We met with Juve and we made an appointment next week but it is all to be evaluated. Today the Italian market has great difficulties, offers come from abroad, and it is clear that we have players who are hungry for big clubs.”
The player himself is interested in joining Juventus which is not surprising given the fact that many young Italians dream of playing for the Bianconeri. This also gives the player opportunity to play Champions League football.
However, the situation is not that straight forward and there are many strings attached to Locatelli’s transfer as confirmed by Fabrizio Romano on the Don Robbie podcast. He revealed:
“I can confirm that Arsenal wants Locatelli, they consider him a perfect player for Arsenal and the Premier League. So they are waiting to see what happens with Juventus because the player’s priority is Juventus.”
“But, if they can’t find an agreement, Sassuolo would be open to accepting bids from Arsenal and it will be up to the player.”
“So keep an eye on Arsenal, because they are just waiting. They are respecting the player. But after this meeting with Juventus, we will have some answers about Locatelli’s situation. Arsenal are still there and are still very interested.”
My opinion: Manuel Locatelli is a very talented player and is already a star for Italy. His performances at the European Championship proves his mettle and talent. He will certainly add value to any team he joins and Arsenal are in desperate need of a player of Locatelli’s calibre.
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Although reports suggest that Arsenal and Sassuolo are in advanced talks for Locatelli, there is still no guarantee that the deal will go through. I say this because Juventus are still lurking and will pounce at any opportunity to sign the Locatelli if they can generate funds through player sales.
Also, we have to keep in mind that with Italy’s win at the Euros, there will be more clubs joining in the race and which may drive up the players value and subsequently drive away our cash strapped club from making a move. So, in my opinion, Arsenal fans need to be cautious about their chances in securing this freshly minted Euro winning midfielder under present circumstances.
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