This summer’s transfer window is one of the biggest that Arsenal have faced in recent years.
After finishing a disappointing eighth in the Premier League table at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, manager Mikel Arteta is determined to change the landscape of his squad this summer with new additions.
The Spaniard is eager to bolster a variety of different areas within the squad, including the centre of midfield. Although the signing of Anderlecht’s Albert Sambi Lokonga is understood to be edging closer, he is thought to be a player for the future, rather than for the here and now.
With that said, signing another midfielder is likely, and it seems that the Gunners have their sights set on Sassuolo and Italy ace Manuel Locatelli.
The Italian has been linked with the Gunners for several months, but that interest has increased in the past week or so.
With that said, here is a round-up of everything football.london knows so far about Locatelli’s future and Arsenal’s interest in his services.
Official bid made
Arsenal have lodged an ‘official bid’ for Locatelli’s services, Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali has confirmed.
On the bid, Carnevali told Sky Italy: “Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli. They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid… we will see.”
At the time of writing, the value of the bid submitted by Arsenal has not been disclosed, although Locatelli has a current value of around £34million.
However, he also mentioned that Sassuolo have a unique relationship with Juventus, and that further talks between the two clubs are planned.
“Juventus also want Locatelli and we have a special relationship with them. A new meeting has been scheduled with Juve.”
Edu told when he can complete Locatelli transfer
If the Gunners can do enough to see an offer accepted by Sassuolo they will then have the chance to discuss personal terms with Locatelli.
But when would the Italian be willing to do that?
The answer is after Euro 2020 has reached its conclusion, as the midfielder told Corriere dello Sport, via Football Italia, last month: “It’s just talk. I will decide after the European Championship,” he said, speaking ahead of Italy’s opener against Turkey.
“There’s such an important competition to play in, and I’m only focused on this. I rely on what happens on the pitch, the real things, everything else is just gossip, it’s useless to talk about it.”
Midfielder open to move abroad
In that same interview, Locatelli was asked if he would ever consider playing outside of his homeland: “Why not?” he said.
“Playing abroad is an option for me and I’m not closing the door to anything. I don’t like to speak too much about the transfer market because that concerns my agents and the Sassuolo management.
“I don’t know whether this will be my final year here or what the future has in store. When and if the opportunities are there, we’ll evaluate them together.”
Arsenal could finally end five-year scouting mission
The 23-year-old was earmarked as a target back in 2016 when he was at the tender age of 18-years-old whilst on the books of AC Milan.
According to a report by Goal, Arsenal had been scouting the Italian for some time and had made contact about trying to get a deal completed to bring him to north London.
However, no deal ever materialised and he spent three years at the San Siro before joining Sassuolo.
Now, five years on, the attacking midfielder has revealed that he believes he is ready to make the step up to a “top club,” as well as refusing to rule out the prospect of moving abroad to test himself.
Speaking to CorSport concerning reports linking Manchester City with a move for his services, he said: “I feel ready for a top club and also joining a foreign club is a potential option for me, why not?
“When there are opportunities, I will think about my future.”
Sassuolo in advanced talks
Sassuolo are in advanced talks to sell Locatelli to an unnamed overseas club, chief executive Carnevali has revealed.
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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The Italian has been closely linked with a move to Arsenal more than any other non-Italian club, but Carnevali has not revealed the identity of the club in question.
He said: “We’re in talks for Locatelli with one club from abroad… and it’s really advanced. We’re going to meet with Juventus in the next days, but there are no negotiations yet with Juve as Italian clubs are in a difficult financial situation.”
It remains to be seen whether or not, of course, Arsenal are the club in question, but it certainly strikes as potentially being promising.