Locatelli is the perfect upgrade on Granit Xhaka

Rex Nseobong July 2, 2021

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Arsenal ahead of Juventus in Locatelli race

Arsenal are believed to have moved ahead of Italian giants Juventus with an “important bid” for Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

The 23-year-old has attracted a lot of attention from some of the big names across Europe after an excellent season with the Italian side, while also impressing during the ongoing European Championship.

The need for midfield reinforcements is pressing at the Emirates Stadium next season, with Dani Ceballos having returned to parent club Real Madrid and Granit Xhaka looking likely to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

Despite the reports suggesting that the deal for Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga will be wrapped up imminently, Mikel Arteta clearly needs another body at the heart of midfield. Someone who has good experience and can deliver the good almost immediately.

And Arsenal look to have made their first offer for an “experienced head” in Italy and Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, The Neroverdi’s CEO Giovanni Carnevali said, “Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid.”

“Also, Juventus want Locatelli and we’ve a special relationship with them. We’ve a new meeting scheduled with Juve.

He continued, “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.”

Last season, Locatelli ranked among the best midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues for passes attempted per game, pass completion percentage, progressive passes and progressive carries.

Although he is a defensive midfielder, he can also play as a number eight, due to his agility and passing range. The young midfielder, who started his career at AC Milan, has made 99 appearances for Sassuolo and 63 for his former club, racking up nine goals and 10 assists, which is impressive for a defensive midfielder.

Locatelli has also made 13 appearances for his national team of Italy since his debut in September last year.

Although it’s hard to imagine him in red and white, stranger things have happened in the past window. Arsenal also appear ruthless in this transfer window. Thus, it is not beyond the realms of imagination to see Locatelli shining in the Premier League next season.

YASH BISHT


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