Arsenal have made a formal approach for Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli the club’s chief executive Giovanni Carnevali has revealed.
Locatelli, 23, starred for Sassuolo in the 2020/21 Serie A season, racking up some impressive ball-playing numbers as he swept the board for most passes (2749), most passes into the final third (446) and most touches (3304) among any player in the division.
The academy graduate of AC Milan has taken that form into Euro 2020 with Italy, recently netting a brace in the nation’s 3-0 win over Switzerland in the group stages, forming an impressive midfield trident alongside Jorginho and Nicolo Barella.
His impressive showings in Europe’s multi-host tournament have clearly not gone unnoticed, as Sassuolo CEO Carnevali has since divulged details about an approach made from the Premier League, with Arsenal said to have made an “official bid” for the midfielder.
“It’s true that there are foreign clubs interested, including Arsenal, and so far they are ahead,” Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia.
“Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid. We will see.”
Carnevali went on to discuss interest closer to home, with recently dethroned Juventus thought to also be in the mix for Locatelli’s signature, which was confirmed by the CEO.
Carnevali added: “Juventus are the only Italian club we talked to about Locatelli. They have interest, we spoke to (sporting director Federico) Cherubini last week.
“We have not yet discussed the financial details, but we have a good rapport and will talk it over soon.
“We are trying to leave the lad calm, so I haven’t spoken to him or his agents yet. We can think about Locatelli’s future, but above all we care about his present and that means Italy doing well at the Euros.”
Manuel Locatelli: Playing abroad is an option
Speculation linking Locatelli with a move to the Premier League has been rife since the midfielder opened the door on a move overseas.
Speaking about his future in mid-April, Locatelli refused to close the door on a transfer away from Italy, saying he ‘won’t exclude anything’.
Locatelli told Corriere dello Sport: “I don’t know if this will be my last year here or what the future holds for me. When, and if, there are opportunities, we will evaluate them all together.”
On the prospect of leaving Serie A, he added: “Playing abroad is an option for me and at the moment I’m not excluding anything. It’s part of my job and it means that I have raised my level.
“Certain certificates of esteem and interest from big clubs increase my motivations and make me understand I’m on the right track.”