Arsenal target Locatelli insists his mind was always on Juventus

Martin Macdonald
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Manuel Locatelli insists he was only focused on moving to Juventus after the European Championship this summer despite major interest from Arsenal.

The Italian shone for Sassuolo last season, emerging as one of the most talented midfielders in Serie A, while he continued his sparkling form into Euro 2020 as he helped the Azzurri go on to win the tournament.

He has been the subject of major transfer speculation all through the summer and during the tournament itself.

Juventus always seemed like the most likely destination, but Sassuolo would reveal that talks with an unnamed English club, believed to have been Arsenal, were at a much more advanced stage.

Locatelli apparently made it clear that he wanted to make the move to the Allianz Stadium, though, and Juventus eventually confirmed a loan deal with the obligation to buy.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, it doesn't seem like they were ever an option for the player.

In his first press conference at Juventus, Locatelli said:

"This shirt has always been my dream since childhood. If I'm here it's because I deserve it, but there will be a lot of work to do.

"In my bedroom I had posters of Pavel Nedved, Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon.

"Juve has always been my priority. The negotiations took a long time, but I'm here now and it's a source of great pride."

The Ronaldo connection

The future of Cristiano Ronaldo has been shrouded in a bit of mystery this summer after reports emerged that the Portuguese superstar was currently unhappy at the club.

Max Allegri and Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus, 2018-19

He was subsequently linked with a return to Real Madrid, Manchester United or Sporting CP, and even a huge transfer to Paris Saint-Germain which would see him line up with one Lionel Messi.

However, Ronaldo himself would not only commit his future to Juventus in a recent social media post, but slam the reports saying he was unhappy, as well as the ones touting him for a move away.

He will line up for Juve this season, and Locatelli is looking forward to linking up both with Cristiano and Paulo Dybala.

"We're here to win," he insisted.

"Juve is full of champions. It's an honour and a pleasure to share the locker room with people like Ronaldo and Dybala.

"Here at Juve I immediately perceived a different mentality. Being coached by Allegri is an honour."