Euro 2020: Manuel Locatelli says his focus is on ‘dream’ of playing for Italy despite ties to Manchester City
Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli insists his focus is on the ‘dream’ of playing at the European Championship despite ties to Man City and Juventus… but the Sassuolo star admits he will have to ‘make decisions’ after the tournament
Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli has dismissed speculation that could take him away from the club this summer – insisting he is focused on fulfilling his childhood dream of representing Italy at a major tournament.
The 23-year-old has been tipped in recent weeks for a move to Manchester City and Juventus after another impressive campaign at his club, which saw the former Milan playmaker called up to Roberto Mancini’s Italian squad for the European Championship.
Locatelli is expected to start in place of the injured Marco Verratti in Friday’s opening game of the tournament, when Italy takes on Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli has dismissed speculation about his future with Sassuolo
The promising star insists his entire focus is on representing his country at Euro 2020
His name has been in various newspapers in recent weeks amid speculation about Juventus interest, but he has insisted that no decisions about his future will be made until the end of the tournament.
“It’s just gossip. There is such an important competition to play and that’s what I’m focused on,” he said.
“It’s normal to have rumors about the transfer market, but I’m not influenced by it.”
“It would be a waste of time to think about that, even though I know that some decisions will have to be made after the European Championship.”
He has been linked with a move to Pep Guardiola (L) at Man City, while Max Allegri (R) and Juventus are also said to be interested.
Instead, he is putting all his efforts and focus on playing for the Azzurri this summer as he prepares to fulfill a youth ambition to compete in the European Championships.
“Representing Italy and the Italian people at the European Championship is a great responsibility that everyone wants to have. It’s something to tell our kids about,” Locatelli told a news conference.
“For me it’s a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I watched these matches on a big screen with my friends.
“Turkey is an important team, they have great players like Hakan Calhanoglu, who I used to play with. It won’t be easy, but we have to give everything.’
Locatelli has had a fantastic season and admits he has to ‘make a decision’ this summer
Last month, reports in Italy claimed that new Juventus manager Max Allegri was plotting a transfer for Locatelli when he first returned to Turin after scoring four goals in an impressive campaign and providing two assists in 34 appearances.
After starting his career at the San Siro, he was initially loaned to Sassuolo in 2018 before the club made the final move the following year.
He has previously hinted that he would be willing to leave the club and venture outside of Italy, suggesting PSG could be a possible destination.
“I dream of playing in the Champions League,” he told L’Equipe in May. ‘I am open to an experience outside of Italy. When you see Verratti, Florenzi and Kean succeed, you want it too.”