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Blow for Arsenal despite willingness to pay £34million asking price for Manuel Locatelli

Manuel Locatelli has impressed for Italy and Sassuolo (Image: Getty Images)

Juventus are set to beat Arsenal to the transfer of Sassuolo midfielder and Italy international Manuel Locatelli.

The 23-year-old is said to hold a preference for playing Champions League football next season and would hold a preference for a move to the Italian giants.

Locatelli scored twice for Italy in Euro 2020 and played in five of his nation’s seven matches as they secured the trophy by defeating England in the final earlier this month.

That propelled the Serie A star into the spotlight and he looks set for a move away from Sassuolo this summer but is said to prefer a stay in Italy.

The Gunners remain outsiders to sign the midfielder despite their willingness to pay his asking price.

Sassuolo are asking for £34million for their central midfielder and Arsenal are prepared to sanction that deal, but Juve want a more structured payment.

The Bianconeri are offering a fee of £26million but as a loan deal for the 2021-22 campaign before being obliged to sign the player permanently the following year.

That is because the club are aware of their precarious financial situation and must curb spending in the financial year, with a transfer spread out through payments across different financial timescales favourable for the club.

This move could depend on the situation surrounding players currently at Juventus, who are keen to trim their first-team squad in order to allow them to reinvest in new signings.

Locatelli joined Sassuolo from Milan in 2019 after paying a fee of £12million following a successful loan stint at the club, and has played 140 games in Serie A across his career.

Arsenal are said to only be willing to sign players who are fully committed to their project and the doubts of the Italian have damaged their chances of his signing.

ARSENAL SIGNINGS

Arsenal have already signed defender Nuno Tavares from Benfica this summer as they look to replenish their squad after missing out on European qualification for the first time in 25 years.

The club’s boss Mikel Arteta said he was expecting “some new faces” at the club shortly following his side’s 2-2 draw against Rangers in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

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