Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli is expected to choose Juventus over Arsenal if current club Sassuolo agree to a transfer this summer, with Champions League football a driving factor in his motivation and something the Gunners cannot offer him for the time being.
Locatelli has reignited his career since being deemed surplus to requirements at club boyhood club AC Milan at the age of 20 and impressed for a triumphant Italy at Euro 2020.
Arsenal want to land two central midfielders this summer as part of a major squad overhaul that could see up to £250m spent on new players by the time it is over. James Maddison has been on their radar, while a deal is soon likely to be completed for Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga.
But Locatelli is another midfielder the Gunners are also thought to have been watching and The Guardian writes that they are willing to meet Sassuolo’s €40m (£34.3m) valuation.
The player’s preference, however, appears to be Juventus and it is said that further talks between the Turin club and Sassuolo will take place this week.
Sassuolo rejected an initial Juve approach of a loan and obligation to buy next summer for €30m (£25.8m). They want a straight transfer now rather than waiting a year for their money.
The Guardian adds that Arsenal have not yet made a move for Locatelli and will wait for further developments in the talks between Juventus and Sassuolo before deciding what to do.
Aside from midfield reinforcements – Sambi Lokonga and one other – Arsenal are keen on a centre-back, which has already seen them move to the brink of signing Ben White from Brighton in a £50m deal. A new goalkeeper and right-back are the other key positions being primarily targeted, with Aaron Ramsdale and Max Aarons respectively the main options on the radar.
Arsenal specifically want players under the age of 25 with the potential to both improve on the pitch and increase in value off it. At 23, Locatelli is a good fit for that profile.