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Manuel Locatelli wants to join Juventus over Arsenal with the Italy midfielder set to leave Sassuolo this summer after starring at Euro 2020, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
Roberto Mancini’s Italy set up a semi-final showdown with Spain after beating Belgium 2-1 on Friday night.
Although Locatelli did not play against the Belgians, he has impressed at the summer tournament having scored a stylish brace in the group stage victory over Switzerland.
And Juventus are eager to sign the 23-year-old, who joined Sassuolo from AC Milan in 2019 after a season-long loan at the Mapei Stadium.
Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali confirmed this week that a bid has been made by Locatelli but by Arsenal rather than the Old Lady.
He said: “Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. 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.”
And though Juve had yet to table a bid, Locatelli would prefer to move to the Serie A giants than link up with Premier League side Arsenal.
Despite that, the Gunners are waiting patiently to step in in case Juve cannot agree a deal to sign the 13-cap Italian international.
Speaking on his Twitch account, Romano explained: “I see Locatelli as one of the players moving this summer because he’s going to leave Sassuolo.
“Juventus are leading the race but Arsenal are really interested in Manuel. As I said, they made a bid, Sassuolo said it’s true, it’s confirmed. But they are waiting now.
“The player wants to go to Juventus. Arsenal are saying, ‘We wait.’ They respect Locatelli because Juventus are playing Champions League and it’s normal for Juventus to be a dream for Italian guys.
“But if Juventus are not finding an agreement with Sassuolo, they are ready to jump in and sign Locatelli.
“If the player wants to go to Juventus, let’s see what happens with Juventus. But if not, Arsenal are there and they are working also on [Albert Sambi] Lokonga.”
The Daily Star add that Tottenham are considering a rival bid to Arsenal for Locatelli with director of football Fabio Paratici, who previously worked at Juve for over a decade, a big fan of the player.
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Paratici is looking to land signings for new manager Nuno Espirito Santo and the Italian is reportedly urging Spurs to launch a move for Locatelli.
Arsenal are working on numerous deals and are expected to close the signing of Belgian Lokonga in the coming weeks.
Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares is also set to link up with Mikel Arteta’s charges for a fee just below £7m.
Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has warned however of the interest in Locatelli: “I think we’ve been linked with a few players at this [European Championship] tournament already, but I’m always weary of these situations.
“Just because a player is performing well in a tournament doesn’t mean they’ll be a good addition.
“Unless that player has been identified already prior to the tournament, I think it would be a huge risk.
“I’m not a manager but it’s not something I would do if I was in Mikel Arteta’s shoes.”
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