Bianconeri had an offer rejected by Sassuolo for the Italian prodigy last summer.
Juventus are reportedly in the trail of Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, who was one of their transfer targets last summer; Sassuolo would reject the offer for the 23-year-old. Now, the report adds that Bianconeri are back in the race for the Italian talent, who has so far enjoyed a brilliant season in Serie A. Inter Milan are also said to be keeping tabs on Locatelli, whom the Neroverdi club rate around €30m.
Locatelli – a former AC Milan star making waves in Serie A
Having progressed through the youth ranks of AC Milan, Locatelli broke into the senior team in 2016 and went on to play for two more seasons. It was the time when Rosonerri were undergoing a transition, and Locatelli was able to make only fewer appearances. He opted to leave for Sassuolo on loan in the summer of 2018 and later signed for them permanently for a fee of €13m.
Locatelli was impressive for the Neroverdi the last term, racking up a total of 3 goals and 4 assists in all competition – the reason why they made him a permanent buy. The former Rossoneri carried his form to this season as well, bagging 3 assists to his name while showing the versatility to play anywhere in the midfield.
Juve’s underperforming midfield
Maurizio Sarri took charge at Turin last summer, and all it meant was Juve would be finally playing an expansive style of football unlike they did with the previous managers. However, Sarri’s ideology puts a strong emphasis on the midfield and the current crop of players in the squad – including the summer signings – had lacked the spark all along. Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic were far from their best while Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey, who initially looked like bargain buys, failed to make their presence felt with the Old Lady.
It is where Locatelli’s excellence comes in as he has put some up impressive numbers this season. The Neroverdi star mainly operates as a deep-lying maker and is known for his creativity, the factor that has been absent with most of Sarri’s players. He is also an efficient ball winner, which further testifies his defensive capabilities as well.
Given his style of play, Locatelli could replace the Bosnian international Pjanic, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea, in the long run. Sarri is also said to be keen on a reunion with Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, however, Locatelli looks more a smart option.
If Sarri is to continue as the manager for the Bianconeri for next season – which could be possible only by lifting the Serie A and the Champions League title – he needs to mend the midfield and find a player who can provide much penetration and creativity. Locatelli has all the qualities to thrive under the former Napoli manager.
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