Barcelona Enter the Race for Juventus Top Midfield Target

Barcelona are the latest team to have approached Sassuolo to ask about Manuel Locatelli’s availability. According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, the Spanish juggernauts have contacted the Italian outfit to understand the midfielder’s situation.

Locatelli has emerged as one of the hottest properties in the European market this summer on the back of an eye-catching Euro 2020. Closely followed by Arsenal and Liverpool, the 23-year-old is Juventus’ prime objective to strengthen the midfield department.

Since the player himself already informed Sassuolo of his desire to continue his career in Turin, many had thought the Allianz Stadium could be Locatelli’s landing spot. However, Juventus have so far failed to strike an agreement with the Nervoerdi, who are adamant the playmaker won’t leave the Mapei Stadium unless their €40million is met. 

Juventus’ hesitance to match Sassuolo’s asking price has opened the door for other sides to swoop in and try to steal Locatelli. After Arsenal’s failed attempt, it now seems Barcelona are ready to spoil the Turin side’s hopes of landing one of Italy’s brightest talents. The Catalans are in the market for a new midfielder after informing Miralem Pjanic that he can move on.

The Bosnia & Herzegovina international is understandably keen to return to Juventus, where he spent some of his best career moments. With Massimiliano Allegri returning to the helm, Pjanic is willing to take a pay cut to re-join the Bianconeri. Though the Italian giants keep the 31-year-old in high esteem, his return will hinge on Juve’s ability to snap up Locatelli.

The Milan youth academy graduate features Juventus’ shopping list close to the top. But Barcelona are also in the mix despite the ongoing financial struggle that has prevented the club from registering new signings and Lionel Messi’s fresh contract.

Barca need to offload several first-team stars to reduce the wage bill and comply with La Liga’s financial salary cap. Pjanic could lead the exodus but keep an eye on the Spaniards’ pursuit of Locatelli.