As a boyhood Juventino growing up, Manuel Locatelli got the move to the club he has always supported in the summer of 2021. It was a move that at times looked like it might not happen seeing as there was meeting ... after meeting ... after meeting, with Sassuolo completely dug in on what they wanted to see Juve pay for the midfielder’s services.
But 2 1⁄2 years after Locatelli traded green and black stripes for the same black and white ones he wore in plenty of pictures as a wee youngster, he has committed his long-term future to Juventus even more than before.
Juventus announced Thursday that the 25-year-old Locatelli has signed a contract extension through 2028, tying him to the club for the next five years. Locatelli will reportedly get a nice raise as well, seeing his salary rise to €3.3 million as he becomes another Italian midfielder at Juve who has signed a new long-term deal after Fabio Miretti did so late in the summer and Nicolo Fagioli is expected to in the coming days.
The official announcement of the from Juventus’ website:
Manuel Locatelli puts his signature on a future which will continue in black and white, having officially renewed his contract with Juventus until 2028.
It was destiny. A lifelong Juventus fan, Loca fulfilled his dream of wearing our shirt in 2021, transforming the goal into a new starting point, with the mentality of someone who is not satisfied. From that moment there hasn’t been a single training session or a single match in which he didn’t give everything for his Juventus. In the best moments and in the most difficult ones.
Some unforgettable flashes that capture the journey we have made so far together: the debut in Udine, the first goal against Sampdoria, the decisive goal in the Derby della Mole, the last goal, the three-point one at San Siro against Milan. A goal against his past to relaunch himself towards a future still in black and white.
This signature until 2028 is a dream come true that is still continuing. It is another promise to himself and to his Juventus.
Over the course of Locatelli’s tenure at Juventus, he has proven to be a favorite of manager Max Allegri. While not necessarily the full-on regista that Allegri so desires his midfield to have, Locatelli has developed into a solid defensive midfield, with his contributions on the defensive end of things becoming quite important to Juve’s record in defense this season.
Locatelli has also scored one of Juventus’ biggest goals this season, a long-range strike at San Siro against his former club AC Milan in a 1-0 victory. It was a goal that was exactly seven years to the day in which a baby-faced teenaged Locatelli did the same thing to Juventus (and Gianluigi Buffon) at the same San Siro to give Milan a 1-0 win.
Locatelli’s extension, while being the first of what many will be a series of new deals at the club, is being looked at new sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli’s way of identifying who he’s going to start building the roster around for the next few years (and maybe beyond). And for a boyhood Juventino to be part of that group, you gotta believe that Locatelli’s got even more pride than ever before to have the chance to wear the shirt he dreamed of wearing one day when he was a youngster.