Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali has revealed that Arsenal have made a bid to sign 23-year-old midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
The Italian enjoyed a meteoric rise during a stellar 2020/21 season in Serie A and has boosted his transfer value with some impressive performances at Euro 2020, the finest of which was a two-goal haul in a 3-0 win over Switzerland.
Juventus were seen as the overwhelming favourites to secure Locatelli's signature, but it was recently revealed that both Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal were prepared to rival them - and it seems as though the latter have made the first move.
"Arsenal are one of the teams interested in Locatelli, and perhaps they are the one that is furthest ahead because they have made an important offer to us," Carnevali told Sky Sport Italia. "In fact, up to now, they are the only team that have submitted a concrete offer."
A fee of around £40m was suggested earlier this summer, but there have been reports claiming that Sassuolo are prepared to demand closer to £60m for the 23-year-old, whose contract has just two years left to run.
Just how much Arsenal have offered is unclear. Sassuolo are understood to be keen on a cash-only deal and would rather not deal with player exchanges, so the Gunners would likely have to find a way to raise the entire £40m if they want to get a deal over the line.
It's the latest transfer link in what has already been a busy summer for Mikel Arteta's side. Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares is set to join in a £7m plus add-ons deal, with Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on the cusp of his own £15m move to the Emirates Stadium.
Renato Sanches is also a target for Arsenal, while there is also extensive interest in a number of other players - Brighton duo Ben White and Yves Bissouma, Leicester playmaker James Maddison and also Sporting CP's Pedro Goncalves, whose stock has risen sharply in Lisbon after helping to fire his side to the Primeira Liga title in 2020/21.
Despite Arsenal's aggressive tactics, Juventus are still seen as potential favourites to sign Locatelli because of their good relationship with Sassuolo - something Carnevali was keen to stress.
"Juventus want Locatelli and we have a special bond with them," he added. "We have a new meeting scheduled with Juve to talk about this."
It is thought that Juventus have been working on a player-plus-cash deal including young centre-back Radu Dragusin, but Sassuolo's desire for a cash-only bid has opened the door for Arsenal.