Liverpool could sign their ideal Jordan Henderson replacement this summer after being linked with a move for Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
The Reds have joined Juventus and fellow Premier League side Arsenal in the race to sign the highly-rated 23-year-old, according to Italian outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport (as reported by Football Italia).
With Gini Wijnaldum already departing Anfield and club captain Henderson potentially seeKing pastures new over the coming months, Liverpool are thought to be in the market for a new central midfielder.
Sassuolo are believed to want £34m for their prized asset, while the club’s CEO Giovanni Carnevali has set a deadline of August 8 for any transfer of one of their stars, so Locatelli’s future should be resolved relatively quickly.
Locatelli has established himself as one of Serie A’s most exciting young talents over the last couple of campaigns, putting in a string of outstanding performances for the Mapei Stadium. The box-to-box midfielder contributed four goals and provided three assists in 34 top-flight appearances for Sassuolo last season, catching the eye of some of the continent’s top clubs.
As per WhoScored, the 23-year-old recorded 1.1 key passes, 2.4 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per league game throughout 2020/21, placing him in the top three amongst his teammates for each metric.
The Italy international carried his incredible club form onto the international stage during this summer’s European Championship. He was a key competent for Roberto Mancini’s triumphant side, scoring two goals in five games for the Azzurri as they claimed the Euro 2020 trophy after a dramatic final at Wembley.
Famed for his energy, tough-tackling nature and eye for a pass, the 1.85m (6 ft 1) beast would be the perfect candidate to succeed Henderson on Merseyside should the 31-year-old leave, and it’s no surprise that Eurosport Italy journalist Carlofillipo Vardelli recently dubbed the Sassuolo ace a “complete” player.
Liverpool supporters will surely be hoping that the Reds can keep hold of inspirational skipper Henderson, but the disappointment of his exit would be significantly softened by the arrival of Locatelli.
He could provide the driving force required to propel the 19-time English champions back to the Premier League summit, so the club’s hierarchy must swoop for the youngster, therefore bolstering Klopp’s midfield ranks ahead of the upcoming campaign.