Arsenal have earmarked Italy midfield Manuel Locatelli as their top transfer target this summer. However, the Sassuolo star has another club in mind as his first choice.
Arsenal are keen to bolster their midfield ranks this summer, and Locatelli is seen as the perfect long-term solution by the Gunners’ transfer chiefs.
The 23-year-old impressed for his country as Italy won the European Championships this summer.
But the quality of his displays mean that Arsenal are not the only interested party. And Locatelli has his own preference for a move.
The Sassoulo midfielder would reportedly prefer to stay in Serie A, according to reports in The Athletic.
And Mikel Arteta’s side are eyeing Ruben Neves as a possible alternative.
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The approaches for Locatelli and Neves come off the back of reports that Arsenal are planning huge spending spree on up to five further signings this summer, as Arteta looks to build a squad capable of lifting Arsenal back to the top tier of English football.
Arsenal chiefs are believed to be willing to spend as much as £250million to secure their preferred targets.
Midfield options Albert Sambi Lokonga, Yves Bissouma and James Maddison, Norwich full-back Max Aarons and Brighton centre-half Ben White are all of interest to Arsenal.
And those five players are all also under 25, fitting the preferred profile of the club’s transfer targets, as they prioritise players with growth and sell-on value.
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Part of the Gunners’ squad strengthening included tying full-back Kieran Tierney to a long-term contract last month.
And Arsenal coach Arteta feels that Tierney has the calibre to even captain the Gunners one day.
“I think he can be Arsenal captain as he has the respect and admiration of every member of the staff and every player,” Arteta said.
“It is just the way he is. He does it in a natural way.
“He is a really shy boy as well but he represents all of us in the club; all of the values that we want to instill and are in the DNA in this club.”
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