Arsenal are reportedly ready to test the resolve of Sassuolo as they eye a summer swoop for Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
According to a recent report from Football.London, Arsenal are prepared to launch their pursuit of Manuel Locatelli this summer. They are reportedly on the lookout for talented midfielders this summer, with their search now leading them towards the 23-year-old US Sassuolo star, who is making quite a noise in Serie A.
The Gunners are primarily interested in Martin Odegaard or Houssem Aouar this summer, but are likely to be priced out of a move for both the players, especially in light of the current financial climate in football. As such, they are now looking at Locatelli, who could be a much easier and more realistic target as the player himself has voiced his desire to take the next step in his career.
Locatelli has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence during his time at Sassuolo, with the Italian international emerging as a midfield lynchpin for the Serie A outfit. He has primarily impressed the onlookers with his aggressive nature and a fighting spirit that has helped the midfielder flourish under the leadership of Roberto De Zerbi.
A product of the AC Milan youth academy, Locatelli is primarily targeted by Juventus, perhaps as a potential replacement for Manchester United-linked Adrien Rabiot while Borussia Dortmund, too, have been linked with a move for the 23-year-old ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window. Arsenal, though, could be the dark horses in his pursuit.
The Italian international is currently believed to be valued at around £31.5 million, which is certainly a fortune considering the state of the current market. With the player’s contract expiring in 2023, though, it will be interesting to see whether Sassuolo are willing to negotiate a move with either Arsenal or any other suitor.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, their interest in Locatelli could be a part of Mikel Arteta’s new plans in the midfield department as the club prepares to let go of their pursuit for a permanent move for on-loan Dani Ceballos while Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have all been linked with moves away from the Emirates.
From a sporting perspective, Locatelli would offer some much-needed competition for Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey. His aggression and tenacity may also make him a tailor-made fit for Mikel Arteta’s tactical philosophy, although Arsenal’s pursuit of the midfielder may largely hinge on their success when it comes to offloading fringe players this summer.