Arsenal 'deny' reports of bid for Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli

Tom Gott
Arsenal have been linked with Manuel Locatelli
Arsenal have been linked with Manuel Locatelli / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arsenal are not believed to have made an official bid for Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, despite the chief executive of the Italian side stating otherwise.

Giovanni Carnevali recently claimed that Arsenal were 'furthest ahead' in the race for the 23-year-old midfielder because they were the only side to have submitted an official bid, putting them ahead of both Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

Well, according to Goal, that's not entirely true.

Sources at the Emirates are said to have confessed to speaking with Sassuolo over a move for Locatelli but have denied submitting an official bid, instead insisting that the Italy international is simply one of several targets under consideration.

There is a belief that Carnevali's recent comments are more of a negotiating tactic, with the Sassuolo chief using Arsenal's name in public in an attempt to scare main suitors Juventus into meeting their demands.

Manuel Locatelli
Arsenal have denied reports of a bid / Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Sassuolo are looking for around £35m for Locatelli and are only interested in cash bids, but Juventus have declined to pay up just yet.

Instead, I Bianconeri have offered closer to £26m and have proposed to send young centre-back Radu Dragusin the other way in exchange.

Arsenal believe that Juventus are in the driving seat for Locatelli and are likely to end up striking a deal in the near future, but those in charge of the Emirates will continue to monitor the situation and have not ruled out a formal bid in the future.

Albert Sambi Lokonga
Sambi Lokonga is expected to join / BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Gunners are looking to sign two central midfielders this summer. Anderlecht's Albert Sambi Lokonga is not far away from sealing a £17m move to the club, but Arsenal also want to sign someone with more top-flight experience.

Brighton's Yves Bissouma and Wolves' Ruben Neves are two players under consideration and both would cost similar to the £35m needed to prise Locatelli away from Sassuolo.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!