Arsenal are reportedly heading for a double heartbreak in the transfer market with two of the club’s targets expected to turn down a chance to move to the Emirates Stadium. Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez are both expected to reject a chance to join the Gunners this summer.
The north London club’s interest in Locatelli has been confirmed by the Italian’s club, Sassuolo, with CEO Giovanni Carnevali confirming a bid from Arsenal very early in the transfer window. Mikel Arteta is keen to bring in a deep lying playmaker and the club have made a £34 million bid, which is yet to be accepted.
Arsenal are the only club to have come close to meet the asking price, but Carnevali revealed that Locatelli is only open to joining Serie A giants Juventus this summer. The Turin club is struggling financially and have thus far failed to make an acceptable bid.
The Sassuolo chief confirmed that they are meeting Juventus this week, while also claiming that a second English Premier League club have entered the race for the Italy international. However, Carnevali wants Locatelli’s future sorted out sooner rather than later and made it clear that they will not entertain bids beyond Aug. 8.
“Tomorrow we’ll have a direct contact with Juventus for Locatelli. He wants to join Juve,” Carnevali said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “We’d be happy to sell Manuel (Locatelli) to Juve… but they need to pay the right fee. Arsenal made a bid to sign him and also a new English club is now in the race.”
“We’re waiting for the right bid for Locatelli… if it doesn’t arrive, he’ll stay here. We’re not going to sell our best players later in August.”
Martinez, on the other hand, was a more recent development as Arteta looks to bolster his forward ranks. The Gunners could lose Alexander Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah this summer, with both strikers entering the final year of their respective contracts.
In the event the duo leave, the Emirates Stadium outfit will be short of players in the number nine position, which has seen them make unofficial enquiries about the availability of the Argentine forward. The 23-year-old played a key role in helping Inter win the Serie A title last season with 17 goals and 10 assists.
However, despite Arsenal reportedly willing to offer a player plus cash deal, Martinez is not interested in moving to the Premier League club. According to Italian journalist Marco Barzaghi, the Argentina international will only leave Inter for three clubs – Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The north Londoners have thus far completed two signings – Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga – and are close to confirming the £50 million arrival of Ben White. Arteta is keen to further strengthen his team this summer, with at least another midfielder, goalkeeper and right-back expected to arrive.