Arsenal report: Gunners in talks with Manuel Locatelli over move

Arsenal target Manuel Locatelli of Juventus looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus at Parc des Princes on September 6, 2022 in Paris, France.
(Image credit: Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Arsenal want to sign Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli and have been given the clearest indication yet that the deal could yet happen. 

Locatelli moved to the Old Lady last summer on an initial two-year loan, with Juve having an obligation to then purchase the player for €25 million over three years with €12.5m in potential add-ons. This summer will see that obligation kick in – unless a suitor comes to prise the Euro 2020 winner away from his homeland.

Arsenal missed out on signing Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz on deadline day to bolster their ranks but have been buoyed by the fantastic form of Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder scored in Saturday's North London Derby and has been one of the standout players of the season.

Granit Xhaka celebrates scoring the 3rd Arsenal goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on October 01, 2022 in London, England.

Granit Xhaka has been in scintillating form, easing the desire from fans for a new marquee midfielder (Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

But Xhaka could well have competition for his spot, should manager Mikel Arteta and director Edu Gaspar get their way. The north Londoners signed Porto playmaker Fabio Vieira in the summer as an option behind captain Martin Odegaard – and now they apparently want another midfielder competing on the opposite side.

Italian outlet Calciomercato (opens in new tab) says the current table-toppers have reached out to Locatelli's representatives and have been told that the Italian would be open to a transfer to the Premier League. 

According to (opens in new tab), Arsenal have previously had a £34m bid turned down for Locatelli during his Sassuolo days. The Italian moved from AC Milan after original promise, impressed under now-Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi and earned a move to Turin, working under Max Allegri, the manager who gave him his break to train with the first team at just 15 years old.

But Juventus have struggled this season, finding themselves way off the pace in Serie A and Allegri's second spell at the Allianz Stadium may be cut short, should poor form continue. If the two-time European champions fail to qualify for the Champions League, Locatelli may be persuaded to seek pastures new. 

Max Allegri

Juventus have endured a tough start to the season, putting Max Allegri and Champions League hopes under increased scrutiny (Image credit: Getty)

Still just 24, Locatelli could be a long-term successor in the left-sided central midfield role for Arsenal, offering security in possession, a good passing range and top ball-striking. The Gunners also have teenage wonderkid Charlie Patino out on loan at Blackpool, tipped for a first-team role in seasons to come. 

Locatelli is valued at around £31.5m by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab)

More Arsenal stories

Arsenal were looking for a “mystery winger” to complete their squad, while a midfielder was also been touted. 

After Nicolas Pepe left the Gunners for more minutes on loan at Nice, manager Mikel Arteta declared a desire to “add firepower”, though he could not guarantee a new player will come in. The Gunners still have interest in Pedro Neto, as well as a Ukrainian wonderkid

Mohamed Elneny’s injury means that midfield is a little weak right now. FFT reported months ago that personal terms with Youri Tielemans were agreed, with the north Londoners just needing to agree a fee with Leicester: one obstacle remained on Deadline Day. In other news, Bukayo Saka has hinted that he’s close to extending his contract.

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.