Arsenal ‘lodge £34m bid’ for Italy star Manuel Locatelli as club raise offer

Arsenal aren’t allowing a lack of European football this season to limit their transfer prospects after the north Londoners reportedly submitted an improved offer for Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli.

The 23-year-old is coming off the back of a triumphant Euro 2020 campaign, where he helped Italy defeat England to clinch the continental crown for the first time since 1968.

Arsenal recently announced Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares as their first major signing of the summer transfer window, but it appears the Gunners are motivated to do more business.

That’s after beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri tweeted news of an increased bid for Locatelli, with Arsenal upping their offer to €40million (£34.3m) after opening negotiations in late June.

Italian journalist Palmeri added the Premier League's side new submission represented a “little raise” on their opening offer, which Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali already confirmed at the beginning of July.

“Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli," Carnevali told Sky Italia.

"They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid… we will see.

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

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It was previously reported the Neroverdi were demanding £34m for their star talent, meaning the decision may now fall to Locatelli as to whether he accepts the move.

Mikel Arteta’s side won’t feature in the Champions League nor the Europa League in the upcoming campaign after they finished eighth in England’s top flight last term.

Juventus recovered to finish fourth in Serie A and just about qualify for Europe’s first-tier competition, with the Bianconeri now under pressure to match Arsenal’s offer.

TalkSPORT recently quoted the midfield anchor, who said he was happy to hear Juve may be among his suitors: “They’re a great team. The interest is pleasing, I’ve always said that.

“But right now I am here with the national team, still cheering on Italy.”

Locatelli featured in five of his country’s seven fixtures at Euro 2020, impressing with two goals in their 3-0 group-stage win over Switzerland.

The Gunners are under some pressure to add creative options in midfield this summer after Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard both returned to Real Madrid following loans in north London.

Locatelli made his Serie A debut with AC Milan at the age of 18, but the player has developed significantly since he joined Sassuolo in 2018 (initially on loan).

He matched his personal best for appearances in a single campaign (34) and scored a career-high four goals last term, helping the Neroverdi finish eighth in Serie A for the second season running.

Locatelli would help beef up Arsenal’s options after defensive midfielder Matteo Guendouzi joined Marseille on loan earlier this summer, with a view to making the move permanent in 2022.

Sassuolo have already made one major alteration this summer after manager Roberto De Zerbi left to join Shakhtar Donetsk in May.

Arteta will hope that change in leadership inspires target Locatelli to pursue a completely new challenge, and Arsenal have taken the initiative with their increased bid.

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