Juventus have opened talks with Sassuolo over a deal to sign Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli, Goal Italy can confirm.
Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici has been an admirer of the 23-year-old since he first broke through at Milan five years ago but has stepped up his interest having been impressed with his performances for club and country over the past 12 months.
The Bianconeri are likely to face intense competition for the player's signature but are hopeful that by moving quickly they can tie up the move and avoid a bidding war for his services, with Sassuolo likely to request a fee of around €40 million (£34m/$47m).
- Mohamed Daramy: Ajax's new €12m teenager who idolises Rashford
- 'Really special' Curtis Jones ready to save Liverpool's injury-ravaged midfield
- Will Neymar and Mbappe subplot undermine PSG's Champions League challenge?
- What can Man City and PSG learn from one another in pursuit of elusive Champions League glory?
Juve confident of agreeing deal
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on clubs’ finances across the globe, meaning big-money transfers will be increasingly difficult to achieve this summer.
Juve, however, are confident they will be able to strike a deal with Sassuolo for Locatelli that meets their valuation while fitting in with the short-term financial constraints caused by the pandemic.
Any fee is likely to be spread over several years to ease the immediate financial burden, while youngsters Gianluca Frabotta and Nicolo Fagioli could also be offered in part-exchange to push through the deal.
A transfer similar to that of Federico Chiesa, who joined from Fiorentina on a two-year loan last summer with an obligation to buy, has also been mooted.
The bigger picture
Andrea Pirlo is under pressure after a disappointing first season in charge of Juve, with their dreams of a 10th successive Scudetto all but over and their Champions League hopes ended by Porto last month.
The Turin side are 10 points behind leaders Inter with 11 games remaining and face a battle just to stay in the top four and secure Champions League football for next season.
It is little surprise, therefore, that rumours of a summer rebuild have begun.
Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala have all been linked with a summer exit, while rumours continue to swirl around the future of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.