Arsenal have reportedly submitted a bid for Manuel Locatelli…
That’s according to beIN Sports correspondent and Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri, who dropped the exciting claim on Twitter this week. He wrote:
“Arsenal have bid €40m for Italy European champion Locatelli.”
It comes after previous reports suggested that the Gunners had offered the Italian midfielder the best financial package amid interest from Serie A giants Juventus.
Technical director Edu Gaspar may have his work cut out as Locatelli has made no secret of his feelings over a potential switch to Turin, telling Sky Sports Italia (via the Daily Mail) that links to the Bianconeri are “pleasing.”
Any move for a new midfielder would surely push Granit Xhaka closer to the exit door, especially after football.london’s chief Arsenal reporter Chris Wheatley revealed the Swiss international had agreed on a five-year contract with Roma.
Despite all of his previous controversies in North London, the 28-year-old does leave behind a huge void in midfield and one that leaves Thomas Partey without a long-term engine room partner.
This is where Locatelli can instantly make an impact after winning Euro 2020 only last week.
It continues on from an impressive domestic campaign at Sassuolo, where the 23-year-old provided seven direct goal contributions in 34 appearances, even donning the armband on a handful of occasions.
That would suggest that he’s capable of filling the likely leadership hole left behind by Xhaka in the heart of the pitch.
Furthermore, Locatelli was graded as Sassuolo’s second-best player as per WhoScored ratings and proved to be quite the box-to-box threat as he also averaged a squad-high 2.4 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 1.1 key passes each league outing.
It’s no wonder that one of his performances at Euro 2020 saw him earn the tag of being a “real dominator” in the middle. Those averages for 2020/21 would certainly go a long way in backing that up as he has the intelligence to read the game defensively and also get further up the pitch to contribute by creating key chances.
The “extremely talented” 6 foot 1 star would surely be the dream replacement for the seemingly departing Xhaka and as such, he would fit in right alongside Partey under Mikel Arteta next season.
Edu must do all he can to convince Locatelli to join the Emirates Stadium over the Turin front-runners.