Il Resto del Carlino claimed earlier this week that Arsenal had joined the race to sign Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli.
The 23-year-old – dubbed as ‘the new Pirlo‘ by ex-AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi in 2016 – is on top of many big clubs’ summer wish list. Manchester City and Juventus are keen to sign him, but should Arsenal go all out to beat the competition?
The Gunners are expected to be on the market for a new central midfielder. Thomas Partey needs someone just as good, if not better, next to him, and if statistics are anything to go by, Locatelli could be the perfect option.
Locatelli has better stats than Partey
In 27 Serie A appearances for Sassuolo this season, Locatelli has averaged 2.5 tackles, 1.6 interceptions and 1.8 clearances per game. He has also been dribbled past just 0.9 times per 90 minutes, which is a sensational record.
On the ball, the Italian averages 77.7 passes every game with a fairly decent passing accuracy of almost 88%. He also boasts of 4.7 long balls, one key pass and 1.3 shots at goal as well per game, which makes him an effective player to have at either end. (WhoScored)
Partey, on the other hand, has only played 18 times in the Premier League. His numbers of 1.8 tackles, 0.8 interceptions and just 0.7 clearances per game are far inferior to that of Locatelli’s.
With the ball at his feet, the former Atleti star averages just 46.5 passes per game with an accuracy of 86.6 %. That includes just 0.6 key passes and 2.7 long balls – not a good showing compared to Locatelli’s numbers above. (WhoScored)
Should Arsenal sign Locatelli?
If statistics from this season are anything to go by, Locatelli would be a sensational signing.
It is important to note that Partey has had a torrid time with injuries this term. He’s into his first season in the Premier League as well, which could be why Locatelli blows him out of the water in some stats.
The Italian, however, is still an extraordinary talent.
He’s still only 23 and has the world at his feet. It will not be easy for Arsenal to beat the likes of Juventus and Manchester City for his signature, but if Edu and Arteta can somehow manage to achieve that, it could well prove to be the signing of the summer.