Arsenal 'ahead of everyone else' in race for Juve target Locatelli

Nicholas Hughes
Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli celebrates after scoring for Italy against Switzerland at Euro 2020

The 23-year-old Italian midfielder has caught the eye at Euro 2020, with a particularly impressive double against Switzerland in the group stages placing him in the limelight.

Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali conceded the Gunners were showing interest, with Granit Xhaka rumoured to be on the way out at Emirates Stadium.

“Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid. We will see,” he told Sky Italia.

Arsenal are ahead of everyone else because they tabled the only concrete offer we have received so far.
- Giovanni Carnevali, Sky Italia

Carnevali also confirmed Juventus’ interest and hinted at the connection between the two clubs as potentially putting the Old Lady in pole position.

“Also Juventus want Locatelli and we have a special relationship with them. We have a new meeting scheduled with Juve,” he said.

The two clubs have historically been very friendly in the transfer market, with Domenico Berardi signing for Sassuolo from Juve while Merih Demiral has recently gone the other way.

For now, though, Locatelli’s focus is fully on the Euro 2020 campaign with Italy, and Carnevali said there would be no discussions with the player himself until the completion of his international obligations.

“We are trying to leave the lad calm, so I haven’t spoken to him or his agent yet,” he said.

“We can think about Locatelli’s future, but above all we care about his present and that means Italy doing well at the Euros.”

Arsenal target Locatelli dominated Serie A in 2020/21

Locatelli joined the Neroverdi from Milan in the summer of 2018 after falling out of contention at San Siro.

He has gone from strength to strength since then and led the entire Serie A in passes and touches per 90 minutes in a very exciting Sassuolo side, per FootballCritic.

With the very real possibility of a Euro 2020 winners’ medal hanging around his neck leading into next season, Locatelli could be about to take a big step in his development with a move to a major European club.