Arsenal’s pursuit of the sought-after Sassuolo midfielder has been offered a massive boost after the Italian club rejected Juventus’ initial bid for the youngster.
According to reputed journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Neroverdi have turned down Juventus’ offer to take Locatelli on a season-long loan with an obligation to buy for €30million.
The record-time Serie A champions are at the front of the queue as the playmaker already made it clear that he wants to team up with Massimiliano Allegri’s side.
However, the Turin heavyweights have yet to reach an agreement with Sassuolo, who continue to demand upwards of €40m to green-light the move.
Well aware of Arsenal’s genuine interest in the Euro 2020 winner, the Mapei outfit are sticking to the valuation of their prized possession, knowing the Gunners will fork out such a figure.
The struggling Premier League champions are in the market for a creative midfielder after bidding farewell to Matteo Guendouzi as they also prepare to wave goodbye to Granit Xhaka.
Mikel Arteta is desperate to find a suitable replacement for Mesut Ozil after failing to convince Real Madrid to let Martin Odegaard stay at the Emirates for at least another season.
Additionally, Dani Ceballos, who spent the last two seasons on loan in London, returned to the Santiago Bernabeu earlier in the summer, leaving the Spaniard short of reliable options in the center of the park.
Arsenal remain darkhorse in the race for Locatelli’s signature, but their hopes of closing the deal with Sassuolo have increased in the wake of the recent turn of events.
The 23-year-old playmaker is not the only profile considered by Arteta, with the ex-Pep Guardiola’s assistant also continuing to monitor Houssem Aouar‘s development at Lyon.
The French metronome has less than a year left to run on his current contract at the Groupama Stadium and could be on the move this summer.
However, Arsenal will have to overcome stiff competition from Premier League rivals Liverpool to bring Aouar to north London.