Arsenal have made an offer worth €45million (£38m) for Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli but the Euro 2020 winner is waiting to join Juventus, according to reports.
Mikel Arteta has made a new midfielder one of his top transfer priorities this summer, with Granit Xhaka on the verge of joining Roma and a new partner for Thomas Partey required.
The Gunners have been linked with the likes of Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, but Italy international Locatelli appears to be their number one choice.
Sassuolo are resigned to losing the 23-year-old and are in talks with both Arsenal and Juventus, though SportMediaset claim only the Gunners have made an acceptable bid.
Arsenal have offered £38m, which meets Locatelli’s asking price, while Juve have so far only proposed an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy next summer.
But while Arsenal’s offer may be more appealing to Sassuolo, the player himself prefers a move to Turin and is prepared to wait as long as it takes for the two Italian clubs to agree terms.
Sassuolo have a good relationship with Juve and talks are continuing, though they have asked for a bigger offer closer to the fee Arsenal are prepared to pay.
Juve’s most recent offer was an initial loan with an obligation to buy Locatelli outright next year for £25m – some way short of Arsenal’s bid – which Sassuolo have rejected, though the Old Lady intend to return with an improved offer.
Juventus’ need for a new midfielder has also been exacerbated by the news that Brazilian star Arthur will be sidelined for three months after undergoing surgery.
While Locatelli appreciates the interest from Arsenal, he wants to join Juventus and help them regain the Scudetto after last season’s underwhelming campaign in which they failed to win Serie A for the first time in a decade.
Arsenal may therefore be forced to turn to one of their alternative midfield options, such as Aouar or Bissouma, while Arteta also wants to sign a new centre-back, right-back and attacking midfielder.