With Weston McKennie now officially a Juventus player beyond just the end of the 2020-21 season, the common line in thinking is that will be just the start of the work to improve the much-maligned midfield.
That involves getting Andrea Pirlo an Andrea Pirlo-like kind of midfielder.
The No. 1 name reportedly at the top of Juventus’ list isn’t much of a surprise: Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli. But, with that not surprising piece of information comes the other part of the equation — just how Juventus might acquire him. According to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Nico Schira and Tuttosport (via VecchiaSignora), Juventus has now turned their attention to trying to bring in Locatelli. Schira goes so far as to say that Juve are in pole position to sign the young Italian midfielder, who reportedly has a €40 million price tag on him come the summer transfer window.
#Juventus will try to reach an agreement with #Sassuolo to sign Manuel #Locatelli, who is the Bianconeri’s first choice as a midfielder. Sassuolo ask €40M for former #ACMilan player. Many european clubs (ManCity and Atlético) are looking Loca, but Juve are in pole. #transfers— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) March 4, 2021
Juventus being interested in Locatelli is nothing new. This next summer won’t be the first summer transfer window when the Locatelli rumors will be out there for everybody to consume and hope that maybe, just maybe, Juventus can sign the kind of creative deep-lying playmaker that this team so desperately needs.
Last summer, he was described as much more than just a ‘Plan B’ option if Juventus weren’t able to land somebody like Jorginho on the summer transfer market. (Which, ironically, is now the other way around, according to Tuttosport, with Jorginho being suggested as the potential backup option if Juve’s pursuit of Locatelli doesn’t work out.)
But when you see that reported €40 million figure and you combine it with the news last week that Juventus is looking incredible amount of financial losses as the pandemic continues and fans aren’t in the stands, it’s impossible to avoid one major thing: How can they afford it?
That’s about as important as actually being able to sign the 23-year-old Locatelli all together. If Juventus are truly in the pole position to sign him, then they must be confident that the funds will be there even if Sassuolo feels like jacking up the price a few more millions. But as we know with transfers these days, money talks — especially when you’re trying to do business in the times of the pandemic when income is a fraction of what it used to be.