Transfer update: Grealish to make decision; Reds eye Traore
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Liverpool have joined Juventus and Arsenal in the race to sign Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli, according to reports. The Reds are on the lookout for a player to replace Gini Wijnaldum and have zeroed on Locatelli, who was one of Italy’s stars in their victorious Euro 2020 campaign.
Wijnaldum chose to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after his Liverpool contract expired at the end of June.
His departure is an obvious blow to Jurgen Klopp who has relied upon the Dutch international for the past five seasons.
With Wijnaldum gone, Liverpool have been linked with a whole host of central midfielders, with a £36million deal for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate their only business so far.
Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus and Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez are just some of the names which have cropped up recently.
Locatelli has been in line for a move away from Sassuolo for some time – the question was just where he will go.
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Juventus were always the favourites, given their status in Italy, but the Turin giants are yet to match Sassuolo’s asking price, giving Arsenal and Liverpool a chance of hijacking the deal.
Earlier this month it was reported that Juve had only put forward an offer of a loan for the 2021/22 season with an obligation to buy next summer for £25.8m (€30m).
Sassuolo want a straight transfer according to The Guardian, who say their asking price is £34m (€40m).
“Locatelli wants to join Juventus,” Sassuolo club director Giovanni Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia on Thursday.
“However, the club needs to reach an agreement with us. We’ll see if there are the right conditions to make it happen, otherwise he is staying with us. We’ll speak to Juve tomorrow.
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“Locatelli also has proposals from Arsenal and another English club that has now joined the race, so he must make a decision, or of course he could stay with us.”
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, that other English club is Liverpool.
Negotiations are continuing to rumble on between Sassuolo and Juventus, while Arsenal have already tabled an ‘adequate offer’ for Locatelli.
The 23-year-old midfielder wants to play Champions League football next season and is therefore not keen on Arsenal – a fact which potentially opens the door for Liverpool.
Carnevali said earlier in July that his “special relationship” with Juventus gave them an advantage, but Gazzetta says his public comments have now upped the stakes.
Sassuolo have set August 8 as the deadline day for any transfer for one of their stars, meaning the clock is ticking for the Reds.
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