ARSENAL’s hopes of signing Manuel Locatelli look like they could be crushed amid reports of Juventus moving ahead in the race for the star.
Tuttosport claims Massimo Allegri wants a deal for the player to be struck between the Turin giants and Sassuolo.
And it is thought the Mapei Stadium midfielder, 23, who has been one of Italy’s best performers at the Euros, would prefer a move to the Old Lady.
Tuttosport claims Juventus, who finished fourth in Italy’s top-flight, may be open to putting forward a cash-plus-player proposal.
It is thought the club, who re-appointed Allegri as manager after sacking Andre Pirlo, could be willing to offer Radu Dragusin or Nicolo Fagioli as part of a deal.
And Tuttosport suggests Locatelli, who has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City, has been eyeing a Juve move for a year.
It would mean Arsenal – who are expected to lose Granit Xhaka to Roma – may have to consider other midfield targets.
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The news comes a month after reports claimed the Gunners were eyeing a £34million move for Locatelli with the club set to cut at four midfielders loose.
The departure of Matteo Guendouzi to Marseille is expected to be followed by the exits of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Lucas Torreira and wantaway Switzerland captain Xhaka.
Locatelli, who is due to play England in the Euro 2020 final, has made four starts for Roberto Mancini’s side netting two tournament goals.
And the Arsenal target notched up scored four times and three assists in 34 Serie A games for Sassuolo last term.
His contract with the side, which he moved to from AC Milan in 2019, is due to expire in June 2023.
And the club finished eighth in Italy’s top-flight last term.
In June, Sky Sports Italia reported Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali's claims that Arsenal were upping the ante in their efforts to sign Locatelli.
However, the Gunners are facing stiff competition from Juve who are thought to have a special connection with officials at the Mapei Stadium, according to Football London.
Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia: "Arsenal have made an official bid for Locatelli.
"They’re pushing hard to sign Manuel and it’s an important bid… we will see.
"Juventus also want Locatelli and we have a special relationship with them.
"We can think about Locatelli’s future, but above all we care about his present and that means Italy doing well at the Euros."
In June reports suggested Locatelli is expected to sign a contract in Turin until 2026 worth around £48,000 per week.
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