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Juventus reportedly remain interested in signing AC Milan’s young midfielder Manuel Locatelli.
According to Calciomercato (h/t Kaustubh Pandey), the Italian champions did make a move for the 19-year-old in the summer, and discussions were held about a potential transfer. Milan are said to be willing to keep hold of one of their brightest prospects, though.
“Milan are still very much intent on keeping him and aren’t willing to hold discussions about the player, despite him in need of more game time,” noted Pandey.
Despite that, Juventus will reportedly make another attempt at signing the player in January, with Massimiliano Allegri keen to improve his midfield options. Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella or Bryan Cristante, currently on loan at Atalanta from Benfica, are reportedly alternatives.
If Juve were able to land Locatelli from one of their biggest rivals, it would represent a major coup. These numbers from the clash with Shkendija in the UEFA Europa League earlier in the campaign illustrate what the teenager can offer:
100 – M. Locatelli was the player with the most touches (100), the most passes (90) and the most recoveries (10) in #ShkendijaMilan. Core. https://t.co/EvoWAcVaxG
Locatelli burst on to the scene early last season with some excellent performances for the Rossoneri. Juve witnessed firsthand to what he can do, too, as he netted a stunning goal against them in a 1-0 win for Milan.
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While the San Siro outfit invested heavily in the summer, Locatelli is one of a number of exciting academy prospects who are pushing hard for a spot in the first team. The displays of Gianluigi Donnarumma and Patrick Cutrone certainly point to a bright future for Milan.
It’s why it would be a big surprise if the Rossoneri were willing to entertain any offer from Juventus. While Locatelli has only started one game in Serie A in 2017-18, with his talent, temperament and affinity with the football club, there’s a sense his time will inevitably come this campaign.
Sergi Roberto on Juventus’ Radar
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According to Marca (h/t Football Espana), Juventus are keeping an eye on any developments involving Barcelona man Sergi Roberto.
As noted in the piece, a contract extension put forward by the Blaugrana has reportedly been rejected by Roberto. His current deal is set to expire in 2019 and he currently has a release clause of €40 million (£35 million).
The Bianconeri are noted as a side ready to act should these negotiations drag on further. The report also noted that Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with Roberto in the past.
The Barcelona man nailed down a position in the team at right-back last season, although he’s always been more comfortable in midfield. The FCB News Twitter account doesn’t want to see him used as a full-back anymore:
FCB News @FCBNewsRoom
Sergi Roberto should genuinely get a “No Right-Back” clause inserted in his new contract.
Getting regular minutes in the middle of the pitch is tough at Barcelona, though. Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets remain the preferred trio, while the likes of Paulinho, Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez are all pushing for starting berths along with Roberto.
The fierce competition may be in Roberto’s mind if he is stalling on a contract, as his versatility, energy and in-game intelligence would make him a massive asset to a lot of clubs. And for a team as illustrious as Juventus, a trigger amount of £35 million may look like value for money.