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Manuel Locatelli explains how he’s ignoring Arsenal transfer rumours

Arsenal-target Manuel Locatelli claims seeing the young Italy fans in the street helps him ignore the uncertainty over his future.

Arsenal have been tracking Locatelli prior to the midfielder lighting up Euro 2020 with Italy and his club Sassuolo have put a £34million pricetag on him.

The Gunners face stiff competition from Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri has made Locatelli one of his top targets since returning for a second spell as coach.

Locatelli, 23, who only made his senior international debut in September, insists he is not distracted by their interest and is focused on bringing success to the young fans he sees in the street.

“When you’re involved in such an important competition, you’re only focused on the task in hand,” he said.


“We see the kids in the street when we travel to our games waving flags, so it’s quite easy to stay focused on the match.

“I’m focused on what happens on the pitch because that’s what is real. Everything else is just gossip and there’s no point worrying about it.”

Locatelli has admitted he could leave Sassuolo this summer and is open to moving abroad.

But Arsenal will find it hard to beat Juventus in their transfer battle because they cannot offer him European football.

Locatelli loves the big stage and he copied the protest started by Cristiano Ronaldo by placing a water bottle in front of him and moving the two Coke bottles at his press conference after the Switzerland game.

Locatelli is being compared to 1982 World Cup winner Marco Tardelli here in Italy because his strike for his second goal against Switzerland was reminiscent of the Azzurri legend’s effort against West Germany in the final.

His first was even better and he played a superb first-time volley out to Domenico Berardi before sprinting half the length of the pitch to convert his cross.

“I was happy with my goals and I want to dedicate them to my family and my girlfriend because of the support they give me,” said Locatelli, who has three goals and two assists for Italy.

Roberto Mancini insists Italy will not ease up against Wales on Sunday, even though they have qualified for the last 16, and he wants to become the first Italy boss since the double World Cup-winning Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s to go 30 games unbeaten.

“We need to play to win our next game and then see what happens,” he said. “The boys have been great up until now, but the road is still a long one.”



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