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Manuel Locatelli to Arsenal transfer rumor

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Don’t get your hopes up.

FBL-EURO-2020-2021-ITA-TRAINING Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Arsenal made an official bid for Manuel Locatelli, according to Sassuolo’s CEO Giovanni Carnevali. The usual Arsenal journos confirmed on Twitter that the Gunners were interested and have been tracking Locatelli but that it was their understanding an official bid had not been made. The Italian central midfielder burst onto the scene in the Euro 2020 group stage with two goals against Switzerland but has ceded his starting spot to a now-healthy Marco Veratti, as expected.

Regular Serie A followers will tell you that Locatelli is almost certainly headed to Juventus this transfer window, it’s just a matter of time and money. Sassuolo’s CEO spoke on the links with Juve in the same interview in which he mentioned the Arsenal bid, and there was nothing in his comments that suggested Locatelli wasn’t headed to i Bianconeri. More generally, it’s rare that a burgeoning Italian star leaves Italy, especially with a big Serie A club interested.

That said, Locatelli would be a good fit for Arsenal, would be a nice statement of intent, and fits within the Gunners’ apparent transfer budget this summer. The rumor mill has slapped a £34m price tag on the Italian, which feels a bit low, but post-COVID football finances are weird.

Locatelli is a skilled ball-progressor and would work well playing in front of Thomas Partey. At 23, he’s the right age for a squad looking to get younger and build a strong core that includes other youngsters Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli, and Gabriel Magalhaes.

But I wouldn’t get your hopes up for Locatelli to Arsenal. This feels much more like Sassuolo are trying to hurry Juventus along and / or squeeze a few million more out of the deal.