Manuel Locatelli insists his mind has not been on the transfer market during Euro 2020, but the Arsenal target said it was a pleasure to be linked with Juventus.
The classy midfielder looks to make a step up from Sassuolo this summer. A graduate of the AC Milan academy, he is ready to return to a club of such stature. Arsenal are major admirers as they look to strengthen their midfield. In fact, Sassuolo have confirmed receiving a bid from the Gunners.
It was not enough to tempt them into a sale, although Arsenal could yet come back in. They need to replenish their midfield due to the exits of Dani Ceballos, Martin Odegaard and Matteo Guendouzi, who could all be followed by Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka.
Having impressed on the European stage this summer, before Marco Verratti returned to take his place in Italy’s successful starting lineup, Locatelli has proven he would be good enough to make such a transfer.
But Arsenal may not be his final destination, as one journalist has claimed he has turned them down.
Instead, staying in Italy by moving to Juventus seems the more likely option – despite Sassuolo insisting it would be difficult for an Italian team to sign him.
That led to Arsenal’s hopes being revived, but Locatelli has now cast further doubt on such a move.
When asked about a potential departure from Sassuolo, which could bank his current club up to €50m, Locatelli told Sky Sport Italia: “I have not really thought about it.
“I’ve been playing for the national team and giving my best at the Euros.
“I’ve had to give it my all for the Italians who have been following us, even those from afar. After these celebrations then we will see.”
The 23-year-old was then pressed specifically on Juventus. His response indicated he may well prefer them to Arsenal.
Locatelli added: “They’re a great team. The interest is pleasing, I’ve always said that.
“But right now I am here with the national team, still cheering on Italy.”
Arteta discusses Arsenal midfielders’ futures
After their first pre-season friendly of the summer, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta spoke about the chances of two of the club’s younger midfielders staying.
Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock both made impressions in the Premier League last season. The former helped fill the void left by the Mesut Ozil saga, while the latter enjoyed a productive loan spell with Newcastle.
With competition for places increasing if Arsenal make more signings in midfield, both could consider their futures. Aston Villa are pushing to sign Smith Rowe and Newcastle want Willock back.
Arteta’s answers gave an indication of where their futures may lie…