Locatelli’s Italy display timely as Arsenal may need to replace 6 midfielders
Arsenal are in the precarious position of potentially losing six of their midfielders before the first ball is kicked next season.
As a result, Mikel Arteta has identified Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli as one of the number of midfield stars he may have to try and lure to the Emirates to fill the widening void in the middle of the park.
The Gunners will reportedly keep tabs on the 23-year-old's performances for Italy throughout the European Championships, with Locatelli already earning plaudits for his performance on the opening night of the tournament as the Azzurri cruised to a 3-0 win over Turkey.
The midfielder enjoyed a stellar individual season, helping guide Sassuolo to an eighth-placed finish which in turn earned him his place in Roberto Mancini's Italy side, despite the fact it is often the case that those who ply their trade for lesser known Serie A sides struggle to make the international set-up.
Now that Arsenal have registered their interest, Arteta's side will have to try and beat the likes of Manchester City, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund to Locatelli's signature.
Luckily for Sassuolo, Locatelli's contract ties him to the club until at least June 2023, ensuring they have at least one more summer window before worrying over whether to cash in on him now or let him depart on a free the following season.
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As their star man, the Serie A outfit will be reluctant to lose him at any point, but they would reportedly accept any offers that top £34m.
Though that money may not be instantly accessible to Arsenal like it would Man City or PSG, the Gunners can expect to generate some transfer funds through the staggering number of departures expected from the midfield alone.
Granit Xhaka is on the cusp of sealing a move to AS Roma, while Matteo Guendouzi edges closer to a permanent deal with Marseille having spent last season on loan at Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.
Lucas Torreira has struggled to build on an impressive start to life at Arsenal, failing to hit the same heights under Arteta as he did under first Gunners boss Unai Emery.
The Uruguay international spent much of last season on the bench during an underwhelming loan spell at Atletico Madrid and is rumoured to have his heart set on a move to Boca Juniors despite being offered to Lazio.
Real Madrid duo Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have both enjoyed loan spells at the Emirates to mixed levels of success, with the latter certainly more popular.
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While Odegaard is thought to be high up on Arteta's transfer wish-list, Ceballos will not return after two years in North London, failing to score a single Premier League goal.
Hale End academy graduate Joe Willock enjoyed one of the most successful loan spells in recent history after he broke multiple records during his second-half of the season stint at Newcastle.
Willock became the youngest player in Premier League history to score in six successive games while under Steve Bruce's guidance at St James Park.
Arteta has previously gone on record expressing his desire to keep the boyhood Arsenal fan at the club, but should the right figure come in – the Gunners may be hard-pressed to say no.
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