Juventus did not want to involve themselves in a prolonged transfer saga this summer, but that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The seemingly inevitable arrival of Manuel Locatelli is still impending and although there’s a willingness on behalf of all parties to get a deal done, the Bianconeri’s current financial woes combined with Arsenal’s strong interest in the Italian midfielder as a potential Granit Xhaka replacement has complicated the situation somewhat.
Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know regarding Locatelli’s proposed move to Turin.
What are Sassuolo’s demands?
Despite starring early on in Italy’s successful Euro 2020 campaign this summer, Sassuolo’s asking price for their star midfielder hasn’t been inflated as a result.
The Neroverdi want €40m (£34.3m) for Locatelli. A fair price considering the 23-year-old’s profile and potential.
What have Juventus offered?
Reports surfaced over the weekend that Juve had tabled a €30m bid but as a loan for the 2021/22 season and an obligation to buy next summer. It’s a similar proposal to Juve’s move for Federico Chiesa, but Sassuolo have rejected the offer. They’re only interested in selling Locatelli permanently this summer.
Arsenal have had a busy transfer window already this summer, bringing in Nuno Tavares from Benfica and all but securing deals for Brighton’s Ben White and Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga.
However, with Xhaka poised for a switch to Jose Mourinho’s Roma, Mikel Arteta is in need of a midfield general. The Gunners have identified Locatelli as their ideal man and are willing to match Sassuolo’s €40m asking price.
The midfielder, though, is desperate to play in the Champions League and is favouring a move to Juventus. In fact, Sky Sport’s Gianluca Di Marzio (via JuveFC) reported that Locatelli would rather stay at Sassuolo for another year before securing a move to Turin next summer than join Arsenal.
It’s either Juventus or Sassuolo for the 23-year-old, with Nicolo Schira also reporting that Locatelli has rejected a move to Borussia Dortmund, who offered €35m to Sassuolo.
Juve failed to strike a deal when they met with Sassuolo last week, but the two clubs will meet again this week looking to reach a fair compromise.
The Bianconeri are in a strong position considering they’ve already agreed personal terms for Locatelli (€3m-a-year until 2026) and Gazzetta dello Sport (via JuveFC) claims that the club are optimistic of wrapping up a €35m deal with the costs spread over five years.
The reliable Romeo Agresti, meanwhile, understands that Sassuolo are keen for Juve to buy Locatelli as soon as possible, meaning they could be open to lowering their valuation for the player.
Nevertheless, the overriding sense is that this situation will be resolved this week, with all the signs pointing towards Locatelli joining the club in the near future.
However, Juve’s cautious financial approach manifested in the pursuit of their top transfer target means that Juventini shouldn’t expect much more in terms of incomings this summer unless players are offloaded.