Liverpool are about to make an opening bid for Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli, who is the subject of interest from Juventus and Arsenal.
The Reds are on the lookout for a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum this summer after the Dutchman joined PSG on a free transfer, and despite some reports that their incoming transfer business is already finished, it seems likely that a new midfielder is still on the agenda.
Through player sales, they have already made back nearly all of the £36m they spent on Ibrahima Konate, and there are further departures yet to come with Neco Williams, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi all likely to raise respectable sums.
Their reported midfield targets have mostly had plenty in common so far. Youri Tielemans, Teun Koopmeiners, Saul Niguez and Renato Sanches are all physical, press resistant playmakers capable of chipping in with a goal and an assist.
It’s no huge surprise, then, to see that Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport are linking them with a move for Sassuolo’s Locatelli, who stole the show for his country at Euro 2020 despite only starting three of Italy’s seven games.
Locatelli’s performance against Switzerland was one of the best individual displays at the tournament, and came after the best season of his life with Sassuolo in Serie A. His impressive form has earned him interest from Juventus and Arsenal, but Football Italia have translated a paper report which claims a bid from Liverpool is incoming.
With a headline which ominously reads ‘Liverpool pounce on Locatelli’, it’s said the Reds have ‘joined the race’ for the AC Milan youth product, and want to tie him up before 8 August – the deadline Sassuolo have set for selling any of their stars.
As it stands, both Juventus and Arsenal are locked in talks over luring him away, and the former are at the most advanced stage. But their current bid – a €5m (£4.3m) loan with a €27m (£23m) option to buy – is still some way short of Sassuolo’s €40m (£34m) asking price. Juve set to meet again with Sassuolo again on Friday in the hope of thrashing out a deal.