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Report: Manuel Locatelli is more than just a ‘Plan B’ option for Juventus

Interesting, interesting, interesting.

Manuel Locatelli of US Sassuolo in action during the Serie A... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

When it comes to remaking Juventus’ midfield for the 2020-21 season, bringing in Arthur Melo is being viewed as a start, rather than something that will be the difference-making move. It is a good start, but Juve obviously need more than just the young Brazilian to make the much-maligned midfield into something that isn’t the scorn of supporters all over the place.

One of the names thrown out there in the last few days is Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli.

And, while some might view him as an alternative to some kind of bigger name (and bigger price tag) this summer, that might not be totally be the case. That’s more to do with Locatelli himself rather than the fact that Juve not being able to land a big fish in this obviously confusing transfer market in the times of a global health pandemic.

According to SportMediaset on Wednesday morning, the 22-year-old Locatelli has emerged as more than just a “Plan B” kind of option for Juventus this summer. As the report states, rather than being an alternative if Juventus Chief Football Officer Fabio Paratici can’t land somebody like Jorginho, Locatelli has now emerged as a genuine target that the soon-to-be nine-time Italian champions could turn to for a lower price than others would cost.

It has been previous reported that Locatelli would cost anywhere between €25 million and €30 million this summer if he were to leave Sassuolo.

But whether Sassuolo actually is ready to sell Locatelli within the next few months is still very much up in the air. Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali said in recent weeks that there are big clubs after Locatelli, which coincidently was around the time that Juventus started being linked with the former Milan midfielder.“Locatelli is being followed, some big clubs have come forward for him, as well as for (Jeremie) Boga,” Carnevali told Tuttomercatoweb two weeks ago.

It has also been rumored that Juventus, the unofficial leaders of the swap deal revolution this summer, will include one of its current young assets — 20-year-old midfielder Hans Nicolussi Caviglia, who’s currently on loan at Perugia in Serie B — in the deal to try and bring that rumored price tag down a little bit.

Either way, Locatelli is the kind of up-and-coming midfielder who fits the profile and skillset that would suit Maurizio Sarri’s system quite well. You add him to a midfield that already has Rodrigo Bentancur (23 years old), Arthur (also 23) and the suddenly resurgent Adrien Rabiot (25) and there’s reason to be optimistic that things are heading in the right direction in the center of the park for Juventus.

That depends on if Sassuolo want to sell rather than keeping the band together this summer and making a serious push for a European spot come the 2020-21 season. For right now, though, hearing that a player like Locatelli is emerging as more and more of an option for Juventus is something that’s trending in the right direction.