There seems to be one thing on every Juventini's mind at this moment in time, 'when the heck will Manuel Locatelli's transfer become resolved?' As Euro 2020 comes to a close, Locatelli's Italy made it all the way to the final! With Italy performing so well and reaching the final, talks between Juventus and Sassuolo have prolonged. However, we keep hearing notable sources like Gianluca Di Marzio and Fabrizio Romano report that Locatelli wants only Juventus. Sassuolo Chairmen Giovanni Carnevali has been on record saying that an important 'foreign (Non-Italian)' club has made a substantial offer and that they have been in close contact with Juventus Sporting Director Federico Cherubini. The two sides will reportedly meet this week, now that the Euro Cup has finished. This leads many to believe that Carnevali is just posturing for more money from Juventus.
With all that said, why are many clubs even interested in Manuel Locatelli? We will be taking a deep dive into Juventus' approach to acquiring the current Sassuolo player.
Player Profile: Manuel Locatelli
Contract: 1.144 Million a year until 2023 (22k/week)
Market Value: 35 Million Euro
Position: Holding Midfielder/Central Midfielder
Strengths: Passing, Aerial Ability, Positioning, Grinta
Weaknesses: Speed, Inexperience (European Football)
Locatelli fits the type of player profile Juventus are currently looking to acquire. The Sassuolo man fits the age bracket being only 23 years old, aligning with other younger Juventus players Rodrigo Bentancur (24), Arthur Melo (24), Weston McKennie (22), Dejan Kulusevski (21), Matthijs De Ligt (21) and of course Federico Chiesa (23). He also plays in a deeper midfield role. Juventus desperately needs help in that area of the pitch. Locatelli is very strong in the air (he is 6'1, 180 pounds) and is a very combative midfielder.
Juventus has really struggled to create goalscoring chances from midfield in the past few seasons. If (or when) Locatelli signs for the club, he will immediately upgrade the midfield. Echoing the great Bruno Giannotti, the best pass in football is the one that eliminates the most defenders. Manuel Locatelli is a master of this craft. This past season, while playing for Sassuolo, he ranked (in the top 5 leagues in European football) 4th in progressive passes (passes completed in the neutral or attacking third that are at least 10 yards), 2nd for attacking third passes and 6th in total passes completed. These three statistics alone acknowledge him as one of the best players at controlling the tempo during the match. The numbers are night and day in comparison to the current midfielders Juventus employ. To see a full list of his past season's stats please see below, courtesy of Football Reference FBref.com.
I have selected a few images that illustrate Locatelli's passing mastery. Courtesy of @futbolidealists