In the hours leading up to Juventus’ meeting with Sassuolo on Friday, it was being billed as the decisive day when it comes to the two clubs’ negotiations for Manuel Locatelli. That line of thinking makes perfect sense — previous meetings have seen Juve in closer and closer to Sassuolo demands, and the simple fact that the 2021-22 season starts in a little over a week means the Bianconeri are simply running out of time to get something done.
So what was the end result of Friday’s meeting?
Pretty much the same as the previous weeks — nothing finalized ... and more impatience.
According to reports out of Italy, Juventus and Sassuolo had some lunch and discussed Locatelli again, but again nothing was finalized in the two sides’ latest meeting of the minds. While Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio said that Juventus has offered a deal that’s worth €35 million, Sassuolo have balked at the clause not being an obligation to buy if there is Champions League qualification.
You’ll never guess this, but the two sides will meet again early next week.
Juventus are getting closer to sign Manuel Locatelli. New meeting with Sassuolo was positive - the agreement is set to be reached on final price tag, but not yet on deal structure [loan/buy obligation]. ⚪️⚫️ #Juventus— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 13, 2021
All parties involved are confident to complete the deal soon.
Just how “soon” that deal actually happens remains to be seen. We’ve been down this road before, we could very well go down this road again when it comes to what we hear in the aftermath of the next meeting. It’s a vicious cycle we’re on, and it’s one that has Juventus still without their No. 1 transfer target as we get closer and closer to these negotiations hitting the two-month mark as well as the new season starting up without Locatelli on the roster and available to Max Allegri.
While the €35 million figure Juventus has now reportedly offered is the closest they’ve been to Sassuolo’s €40 million asking price, it’s now the structure of the deal that looks like the biggest sticking point.
As has been previously reported, Juventus wants to have the deal for Locatelli be similar to what they did with Fiorentina for Federico Chiesa last summer, with a two-year loan deal and the potential buy clause kicking in come 2023. There’s now the added wrinkle, as Di Marzio reported, about whether the clause will be an obligation or an option depending on Juventus qualifying for the Champions League as well as just how much of the transfer fee would be in performance-related bonuses.
Just another twist in this long, long road to get a midfielder this team desperately needs, right? The fun just keeps on kickin’ on the Locatelli front, folks.