Juventus beat Arsenal to €37.5m signing of Locatelli

Carlo Garganese

Juventus have beaten Arsenal to the signing of Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo for a fee of €37.5 million.

The 23-year-old has agreed a five-year contract until 2026 with the Bianconeri.

“Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement with U.S. Sassuolo Calcio for the free temporary acquisition, until 30 June 2023, of the registration rights of the player Manuel Locatelli has been finalized," Juventus announced.

“The agreement entails the obligation for Juventus to definitely acquire the player’s registration rights, subject to the achievement of certain given sporting objectives by the end of the season 2022/23.

“The agreed consideration for the definitive acquisition is €25m, payable in three years.

“Furthermore, a maximum of €12.5m of cumulative bonuses are envisaged upon achievement of further sporting performance objectives.”

Juve are long-term admirers of the midfielder and attempted to sign him a year ago.

The creative midfielder has emerged as one of Europe’s most admired players over the last 18 months, finally developing his potential under coach Roberto De Zerbi.

He was one of the breakout stars at Euro 2020, scoring twice in the win over Switzerland as Italy went all the way to win the trophy at Wembley.

Locatelli has received interest from many of Europe’s top clubs this year, including PSG, Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Locatelli rejected Arsenal and Dortmund

Manuel Locatelli, Sassuolo. 2020-21

Manuel Locatelli, Sassuolo. 2020-21

However, the three main clubs chasing him this summer were Juventus, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

Both Arsenal and Dortmund had €40m bids for Locatelli accepted by Sassuolo before Euro 2020 began.

However, Locatelli made it clear from the start that he was only interested in joining Juventus, the club he supported as a kid.

Locatelli is a much-needed signing for a Juventus midfield that has been a well-documented problem area for the club over recent years.

The Bianconeri boasted arguably the best central midfield in Europe when they reached the 2015 Champions League final with Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba in their line-up.

However, within a year, all three players had left the club and many fans believe that they have still not replaced any of them.

Locatelli, it is hoped, will go some way to remedying this problem.

Locatelli emerged at AC Milan

He burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old for AC Milan, scoring a memorable winner against Juventus.

However, his career then stagnated at San Siro until he was resurrected at Sassuolo.

He has to date made 162 club appearances, scoring nine goals. He has been capped 15 times by Italy, finding the net on three instances.