Manchester City are reportedly interested in signing Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli next summer and the Italian could the long-term successor to Ilkay Gundogan.
It was suggested by the Daily Mail earlier this week that City are interested in signing the Italian international, who is likely to cost around £30 million. However, a later report suggested that the Serie A side won’t consider any bids during this month’s transfer window, so the Citizens may have to wait until the summer to bring him to the Etihad.
The 23-year-old has also been attracting interest from Juventus after impressing in recent seasons with Neroverdi, having joined on a permanent deal from AC Milan in the summer of 2019.
So far this season, the Italian midfielder has averaged a superb 7.11 rating for his performances in Serie A, having contributed two goals and one assist in 16 appearances.
WhoScored describes some of his strengths as passing, dribbling and through balls, which could mark him out as a potential long-term replacement for Gundogan in this Manchester City side.
The German international will turn 31 this year and has impressed in Pep Guardiola’s side so far this season, averaging a 7.10 rating in the Premier League, but he lacks the tackling ability of Locatelli.
The Sassuolo man looks to be something of an all-rounder, as he has averaged 1.2 shots per game and 1.3 successful aerial duels, as well as registering an impressive 88.1% success rate, per WhoScored.
Gundogan meanwhile, has averaged 1.5 shots per game and a 90.7% pass success rate but struggles to win aerial duels, averaging just 0.5 per game in the Premier League, per WhoScored.
Locatelli’s agent has suggested that the 23-year-old “dreams of playing in the Champions League” but with Sassuolo currently seventh in Serie A, it seems as if he will have to move away to realise this dream, and Manchester City could be the perfect place for him.
Certainly, there seems no reason why the midfielder couldn’t be a success in Guardiola’s side and if sporting director Txiki Begiristain can seal a move for him, he could be the heir to Gundogan’s throne with the Citizens.