Teams are always on the hunt for players to improve their squad, but nothing makes a transfer target stand out more, and boost their price, than a big showing over the summer in an international tournament. Manuel Locatelli was one of the names to really shine during Euro 2020 as Italy went on to win the competition for the first time in over five decades, beating England in penalty kicks. The Sassuolo man helped get things started in the opener with two goals in the win over Switzerland and continued to be a reliable player throughout the tournament en route to the continental championship. Now, the former AC Milan man is looking likely to leave Sassuolo this summer with teams such as Juventus and Arsenal reportedly interested in the 23-year-old, who started his youth career with Atalanta.
Here's what to know:
Latest Locatelli transfer news
- July 16, 2021: CBS soccer insider Fabrizio Romano reports that Juventus met with Sassuolo to discuss a transfer, offering an opening bid of €30 million that was rejected. Sassuolo want €40 million for the player.
- Arsenal have already bid €39.6 million for the player, Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali confirmed, according to reports.
Locatelli: Numbers to know
- 7 goals: Locatelli had just five goals in his career entering last season, but since then he has scored seven. He had four for Sassuolo, including three in Serie A, and then his 2021 with Italy has been superb. He scored his first goal for the national team on March 21 in World Cup qualifying against Bulgaria and then followed that up with his brace against the Swiss.
- 81 tackles: Locatelli had 81 tackles last season in Serie A, the second most of any player in the league. He also had 239 ball recoveries, the fifth most in Serie A.
- 103.07 touches per 90 minutes: Locatelli was the heard of Sassuolo's possession machine. He touched the ball more per 90 minutes than any player in Serie A, playing as the midfield lynch pin of Sassuolo's conservative, possession based system. Sassuolo led Serie A in possession percentage at 60.6% and Locatellie was the primary engine of that approach.
- 5: That's how many games he's missed due to injuries in his entire career. That's impressive, considering he's appeared in 177 matches for both club and country. He's been a reliable player who has never suffered an injury that made him miss more than two games.
Transfer risk factor
There probably isn't more than the normal risk if he can be signed in the 30-40 million euro range. He's still very young and with his best years ahead, and getting that long-term contract from a big club should be no issue in terms of consistency. His Milan tenure ended with what the player felt was a lack of commitment and belief from the club, resulting in his move to Sassuolo with an obligation to buy. Where Milan showed they really didn't want him, Juve or Arsenal doing so could give him the extra motivation to quickly take his next step towards becoming a consistent star.