Manchester City are being linked with Sassuolo ace Manuel Locatelli, and the Italian could prove to be the ideal heir to Fernandinho in Pep Guardiola’s side.
According to Italian news outlet Calciomercato, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus are all set to make an approach for the midfielder this summer, with Sassuolo willing to sell.
However, the report also suggests that he would prefer a move to the Old Lady ahead of next season, which suggests that Guardiola and City sporting director Txiki Begiristain will have to make a convincing offer if they want to ensure that the 23-year-old plies his trade at the Etihad Stadium next term.
Manchester City were forced to exclude Fernandinho from their Premier League retained list earlier this week, as the experienced Brazilian is yet to commit to a new deal with the Citizens ahead of next season.
It has been widely reported that the 36-year-old will sign a new one-year deal with Guardiola’s side after an impressive end to the season, but the club are running out of time to finalise the negotiations as his contract will officially expire at the end of the month.
Even if he does stay on, it seems likely that next season will be his last as a Manchester City player, and City will surely have to bring in a replacement for him to compete with Rodri in the defensive midfield role.
Locatelli could prove to be the ideal man, as he has seriously impressed with both Sassuolo and the Italian national side in recent years.
Last season saw the 23-year-old make 34 appearances in Serie A, in which he contributed four goals and two assists, averaging a solid 7.08 rating from WhoScored for his performances, whilst his 7.32 average rating for Italy in the World Cup qualifying fixtures also emphasises his quality.
The young midfielder averaged an impressive 2.4 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per match in Serie A last season, whilst his nine yellow cards demonstrate his willingness to get stuck in, a trait for which Fernandinho has been renowned during his time at the Etihad.
Therefore, regardless of whether or not the former Shakhtar Donetsk man leaves this summer, Locatelli could prove to be the ideal long-term heir to the midfield veteran in Guardiola’s side, to Txiki Begiristain should definitely look to bring in the £31.5m-rated Italian.