Man City and Juventus target Locatelli ‘ready for a top club’

Martin Macdonald
Man City and Juventus target Locatelli ‘ready for a top club’

Manuel Locatelli believes he is ready to play for a “top club” in his career after impressing in a spell at Sassuolo initially on loan and then on a permanent basis over the past couple of seasons.

The Italian was with Atalanta as a youngster before moving to the Milan academy at aged 11. It was with the Rossoneri that he made his professional debut and would go on to feature regularly between 2016 and 2019.

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However, it seemed that Milan never fully trusted Locatelli as around that time several central midfielders were brought in who were deemed to be ahead of him in the pecking order, such as Lucas Biglia and Tiemoue Bakayoko.

He was allowed to leave on loan to Sassuolo but the player himself asked for a permanent transfer clause to be added, as he felt he was no longer rated at San Siro.

Locatelli has came into his own with the Neroverdi, and now is in a position where plenty of elite clubs around Europe are interested in a potential summer transfer.

The 23-year-old reckons he is ready to make the step up, too.

“I’ve been growing and I’m ready for a top club,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“Also playing abroad is an option and I’m not ruling out anything. I don’t know if this is gonna be my last year here in Sassuolo and what the future has planned for me: when and if there will be some opportunities, we will evaluate them.”

Who could sign Locatelli?

The two clubs believed to be leading the race for Locatelli are Juventus and Manchester City.

Over the past couple of years the Bianconeri have attempted to hoover up as much young talent from around Serie A as possible, as highlighted by their recent acquisitions of Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa from Atalanta and Fiorentina respectively.

Even though Juve already have a variety of central midfielders including Rodrigo Bentancur, Adrien Radiot, Weston McKennie, and Aaron Ramsey, none of these players have particularly lit up the Allianz Stadium in 2020/21, hence had coach Andrea Pirlo’s desire for a new recruit.

Man City, meanwhile, will likely have a spot to fill in the centre of their midfield for next season with Fernandinho yet to agree terms on a new contract to remain at the club beyond this summer.

The Brazilian will be 36 by the time the current campaign finishes, so it is unlikely he’ll be given a new deal, and so Man City have identified Locatelli as an ideal replacement for the deep-lying midfield role.