Sassuolo chief Giovanni Carnevali insists Manuel Locatelli ‘could end up costing over €40m’ and Juventus face ‘a great deal of competition’ from clubs outside Italy.
Now 23, he started his career in the Milan academy before a €14m sale to Sassuolo in 2019.
“Locatelli was our most expensive signing,” noted Carnevali during an event in Rimini to mark the start of the transfer session.
“I started negotiating with Massimiliano Mirabelli, then I had to continue with Leonardo. It was all defined and then Adriano Galliani told me to find another solution, because Locatelli was still a Rossoneri fan. However, after a month-and-a-half of negotiations, I was inflexible.”
Locatelli is widely expected to move on this summer, with Juventus the favourites ahead of Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
“Exactly like last season, there are many proposals for the lad and EURO 2020 is proving to be a great shop window, especially for foreign clubs. We’ll evaluate the situation and be called to make the right choices at the key moment.
“Juventus are the only Italian club to have asked us for him, and we already had contact, but at this moment there is a great deal of competition for Locatelli and it won’t be an easy transfer.”
Carnevali was asked about a comment he made last week that €40m might not be enough for Locatelli.
“I wasn’t joking, because the negotiations we are engaged in are at this level and are only growing with the Euros.”
Locatelli made 34 Serie A appearances for Sassuolo this season, contributing four goals and three assists.
He filled in for injured Marco Verratti during the opening two EURO 2020 games against Turkey and Switzerland, scoring twice and making a huge impact on the viewing public.
Now Locatelli is challenging Verratti and Nicolò Barella for a starting spot in midfield against Belgium in Friday’s quarter-final.